Before the Oakland A's series in Boston began, they were already short one of their best relievers, as right-hander Grant Balfour was away from the team after the birth of his child. Fautino De Los Santos was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take Balfour's place. De Los Santos made his major league debut on Saturday, striking out Jed Lowrie in one-third of an inning.
Unfortunately for the A's, De Los Santos' strike-out was one of 41 outs the A's would record on Saturday as the team lost a heart-breaking 9-8 decision to the Red Sox. That loss followed a game in which starter Josh Outman worked only 2.2 innings, taxing the bullpen even further.
Despite starter Trevor Cahill lasting seven innings, the A's used nine pitchers in the Saturday game, including Brian Fuentes for a second straight game and Andrew Bailey, who hasn't been cleared to work on back-to-back days. Another one of those pitchers was fifth starter Guillermo Moscoso. Oakland skipped Moscoso's turn through the rotation this week, but had to turn to him on Friday in relief of Outman. Moscosco has now appeared in two games in a row in relief and his status for his next start on Tuesday is to be determined.
On Sunday, Balfour returned to the team but rather than send down De Los Santos (which was likely the original plan), the A's decided to keep the right-hander and designated infielder Andy LaRoche for assignment instead. De Los Santos will likely remain with the team for a couple more days while the bullpen recovers from its heavy workload and then will return to Sacramento when rehabbing infielder Adam Rosales is ready to return to Oakland.
By designating LaRoche for assignment, the A's have opened a spot on their 40-man roster. This will give the team some flexibility in regards to that start on Tuesday. Should the A's decide to keep Moscoso in the rotation, the A's will simply activate Rosales from the 60-day DL (thereby placing him back on the 40-man roster).
If the A's decide Moscoso can't go, they can call up a non-roster pitcher such as Travis Banwart or Graham Godfrey from Sacramento and then make another move with the roster to reinstate Rosales.
Rosales has appeared in two games for the Sacramento River Cats. He went 3-for-4 in his first game and 0-for-3 with a walk in his second. He has yet to appear in all nine innings of a game. Rosales has been out all season recovering from a stress fracture in his foot. He hit .271 with seven homers in 80 games last season for the A's.
Banwart is scheduled to pitch today for Sacramento. He has a 3.23 ERA and a 43:13 K:BB ratio in 53 innings for the River Cats this season. Godfrey pitched on Saturday for Sacramento and earned the win in Colorado Springs. He is 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA and a 45:15 K:BB ratio in nine starts (50.1 innings) for Sacramento this season. He also tossed four scoreless innings on Opening Day for Double-A Midland.
Other News and Notes
* The Burlington Bees will be well-represented in the Midwest League All-Star game, hosted by the Quad Cities River Bandits. Yordy Cabrera will start for the Western team and he will be joined on the roster by Nino Leyja, Douglas Landaeta, Blake Hassebrock, Daniel Tenholder and Zach Thornton.
* Renato Nunez, who the A's signed to a big bonus out of Venezuela during the international free agent signing period last year, is five-for-his-last-eight for the Dominican Summer League A's. The infielder collected his first professional extra-base hit on Saturday, a double. He turned 17 on April 4.
* Filling in for De Los Santos in Sacramento is lefty Ben Hornbeck, who has gone back-and-forth between High-A Stockton and Sacramento this season. Hornbeck allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning on Saturday. Overall, he has a 1.35 ERA and an 18:2 K:BB ratio in 13.1 innings this season.
* The A's have signed two major league veterans to minor league contracts recently. Oakland inked veteran Lenny DiNardo to a minor league deal in late May and he is now in the Sacramento rotation. This week, the A's signed right-hander Jason Bergmann, formerly of the Washington Nationals. He is in the Double-A Midland rotation.
* Utiliyman Adam Heether hit his sixth homerun in just his 19th game for the Midland Rockhounds. Heether was sent down to Midland from Sacramento in mid-May.
* Former A's Cy Young award-winner Barry Zito is scheduled to start for the San Jose Giants against the Stockton Ports in Stockton on Monday. Rain is in the forecast early Monday, but it is expected to clear out by midday.
* Former A's farmhand Yusuf Carter has signed on with the Somerset Patroits of the independent Atlantic League. Carter was released by the A's in May.