OAKLAND -- The A's are close to getting a key piece to their patchwork starting rotation back, after left-hander Brett Anderson made it through three innings in a simulated game on Saturday.
Anderson, out since Aug. 28 with a strained left forearm, threw 15 pitches in each inning and came out of it feeling fine. That's an important step both for Oakland and Anderson, who missed a month earlier this season with a strain in his pitching shoulder.
"He had had three up and downs of 15 pitches in the bullpen," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. That will go a long way in determining what game is next for him. If he feels good tomorrow, my guess is [he'll return] some point on the road trip."
Oakland's starting staff has been short-handed since losing Anderson and Sean Manaea within a three-day span late last month. Manaea, who no-hit the Boston Red Sox on April 21, is out with rotator cuff tendinitis in his left shoulder and is all but certain to miss the remainder of the season.
That has left Melvin with just three members in his rotation -- Edwin Jackson (Saturday's starter), Trevor Cahill and Mike Fiers. Melvin has resorted to bullpenning when the other two turns in the rotation come up, with reliever Liam Hendriks having made three starts in a seven-day span.
Melvin hasn't said how much longer he will continue starting a reliever, but he added that Anderson's return would reduce the need.
"We do have a number of starters now, and if Brett comes back, the openings are fewer," Melvin said.
Anderson is 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA this season but had been on a nice roll before getting hurt. He pitched 14 2/3 scoreless innings combined in consecutive starts against Seattle and Texas, which dropped his ERA to 3.47. The following start in Houston on Aug. 27, Anderson was tagged for five runs in 2 2/3 innings.
• First baseman Matt Olson was held out of the starting lineup on Saturday, and he could have the day off Sunday as well.
• Outfielder Nick Martini and right-hander Ryan Dull are expected to be added to the roster Sunday. Right-hander Frankie Montas could join Monday.