Programming note: A’s-Mariners coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SEATTLE -- The A’s can use any good news that comes their way right now.
They got some Friday when closer Sean Doolittle was activated from the disabled list. He’d been sidelined since Aug. 24 with a strained right side muscle, and his availability for the ninth inning is a boost for a free-falling team that begins a crucial series Friday night against the Seattle Mariners.
Doolittle’s return means the rest of Oakland’s relievers can settle into their standard roles that have worked so well through much of this season. Luke Gregerson remains the eighth-inning setup man, Dan Otero can handle the seventh and lefties Fernando Abad and Eric O’Flaherty can be used situationally as needed. O’Flaherty was the interim closer in Doolittle’s absence and had just two save opportunities -- he converted one and blew the other.
[REWIND: A's place Doolittle on disabled list]
Doolittle is 1-3 with 20 saves, a 2.28 ERA and .171 opponents batting average in 54 appearances. He has 80 strikeouts and just five walks in 55 1/3 innings, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 16.00 that leads major league relievers.
The A’s are 9-21 over their last 30 games and are clinging to a one-game lead over Detroit for the American League’s top wild card spot. The Mariners are just 1 ½ games back.
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