LOS ANGELES -– Pat Venditte is scheduled to pitch back-to-back games Friday and Saturday for Triple-A Nashville, a sign that the A’s ambidextrous reliever is getting close to coming off the disabled list.
Venditte threw two innings for Single-A Stockton on Tuesday, giving up a solo home run against Modesto but recording three strikeouts. Recovering from a strained right shoulder, Venditte has made three appearances for the Ports and given up two runs on three hits (4.0 innings). He’s struck out five and hasn’t allowed a walk.
A’s manager Bob Melvin acknowledged Venditte could be close to his big league return. He’s missed the past 40 games, and it’s been a gradual recovery. Venditte threw from just one side in each of his first two rehab outings, but threw with both arms Tuesday.
His eventual return will be welcomed by a bullpen that is now without closer Tyler Clippard, traded to the Mets on Monday. The A’s are shifting Edward Mujica into the closer’s role and will use a committee of relievers to carry a lead to him, including lefty Drew Pomeranz as a primary setup man.
“He’s throwing the ball well,” Melvin said of Venditte. “He’s not a velocity guy, but the velocity has been consistent with how he’s thrown in the past for us.”
In other bullpen news, injured closer Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) is scheduled to throw off the mound Thursday, and Melvin will be at the Coliseum to see it as the A’s begin an 11-game homestand that night against Cleveland.
Fellow reliever Taylor Thompson, sidelined all season by a right shoulder strain, will make another rehab appearance for Stockton on Wednesday night.
Melvin said he’ll mix and match his batting order for the time being in the aftermath of No. 3 hitter Ben Zobrist getting traded Tuesday. Defending Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw was scratched from Wednesday’s start for the Dodgers and replaced by right-hander Mike Bolsinger, so Melvin wrote in a lefty-dominated lineup that features Ike Davis making just his third career start as a No. 2 hitter.