KANSAS CITY -- The A's could get a major clue on Saturday whether right-hander Chris Bassitt will be able to help them down the stretch in their quest to finish with a flourish and gain a fourth consecutive postseason berth.
Bassitt, working his way back from a right facial fracture sustained in an Aug. 17 start in Chicago, had a positive bullpen session on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium and a key step will come Saturday, when he is scheduled to throw live to hitters in Anaheim. Wednesday's was the latest bullpen session for Bassitt, who emerged from his first in good spirits last weekend.
"His velocity was up to 93 mph," manager Bob Melvin said of Bassitt's bullpen session. "He got up and down, warmed up twice. Simulated innings with [outfielder] Skye Bolt standing in and 15 pitches apiece."
Melvin remains unsure at the moment whether Bassitt would need a rehab assignment before pitching again for the A's.
"It's a good question, I don't know," Melvin said. "If it's something he needs, that's the route we'll go. [In Anaheim] he'll be facing hitters the same [way] that he would in a game. We are up against the clock, as far as when the season is over. But it's what he's comfortable with."
Happy for Kemp
Melvin was delighted to hear that utilityman Tony Kemp was named the A's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on the field and in the community.
Kemp will be recognized during a pregame presentation on Monday when the A's begin their final homestand of the regular season.
"Extremely proud of him," Melvin said. "During the whole movement last year he was inspirational to us. A resource for all of us."