Mike Fiers will start the season on the injured list, Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced Friday.
Irvin was outstanding in Friday’s 11-0 victory against the Dodgers. He did not allow a hit in the first five scoreless innings and was dominant all evening. Gavin Lux broke up his no-hitter with a ground ball that bounced off of first base for the Dodgers’ first hit of the game in the sixth inning. The left-hander struck out 10.
“I’m still trying to earn a role on this team, so I’m just doing what I can to get outs,” Irvin said. “When we put numbers on the board, I want to put zeros up as quick as I can so our hitters can go out and do the same thing.
"I know it's just a Spring Training game, but when you're coming down to the end and you're fighting for a spot, and you run up against the lineup like this and pitch in a fashion that he did, that carries a lot of weight," Melvin said of Irvin. "That was an impressive outing. He's been good all spring, but that was by far his best today and going into the game, he knew he had to be good."
Fiers was slowed by a back issue early in spring and most recently by discomfort near his hip. His back tightened up while attempting to play catch a week ago.
The veteran, whose stint on the injured list will be his first since 2018, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday. He still has not faced hitters this spring.
“At least he is going in a trajectory that is a good one right now and he tends to respond pretty well once he gets going,” Melvin said. “He’s a pretty tough guy. He’s pitched at times before with some issues, where we thought he was not going to be able to start a game, but he did. He’s pretty tough and durable as far as making a start.
For now, the A’s are tentatively scheduled to start Chris Bassitt, Jesús Luzardo, and Sean Manaea against the Astros to start the season. Frankie Montas, who could pitch the final game of the four-game set against Houston, left Thursday’s game against the Mariners due to a cuticle tear on his right middle finger.
“The good news is you can throw bullpens and throw with something on it,” Melvin said of Montas. “He’ll continue to play catch and do his thing. Hopefully, once we get to the workout day in Oakland, it'll be that much better, and he'll be able to pitch.”
Bassitt was scheduled to pitch Friday night’s game against the Dodgers, but threw a simulated game instead. The A’s will play host to the Dodgers April 5-7 and Melvin didn’t want to give Los Angeles a sneak peak.
No reunion for Andrus, Davis
Elvis Andrus, who started Friday night’s game against the Dodgers, will not play Saturday afternoon against the Rangers, his former team.
Melvin said he doesn’t want Andrus, who played 12 seasons in Texas before he was traded to Oakland for a package that included Khris Davis last month, playing in a day game after a night game.
As for Davis, on Wednesday he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left quad strain and will miss three to four weeks.
“I am pleasantly surprised at how well [Andrus] has fit in here because I've been on other teams, too, and I know there's some uncomfortableness going to a new team, especially a team in the division that you've been competing against,” Melvin said. “His personality would suggest that he would probably get along anywhere and do it quickly.”
The manager added that Andrus, 32, who has six hits in 35 at-bats this spring going into Friday, adds a dynamic to the dugout the club has been missing.
Andrus finished with two hits Friday, including a triple in the third inning and an RBI single in the fourth that pushed Oakland ahead, 6-0. Francisco Peña also had two hits in the victory. In all, the A’s tagged Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw with eight earned run on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. The A’s finished with 13 hits in the game.
“He is not afraid to speak his mind and he is very enthusiastic in the dugout,” Melvin said. “I think that works very well for us. Plus, he's just a great guy and loves to play baseball. And that showed up very quickly here.”
Andrus, who slashed .274/.330/.372 during his career in Texas, was plagued with injuries last season. That has not been the case this spring.
“Health is the most important thing, and we’ve seen him healthy here,” Melvin said. “For veteran guys like him, we don't probably ask too much early in spring. It's just about the progression. He understands that the last week, the last 10 days, are the most important, and he's swinging the bat better now than he was early in camp.”
The A’s plan to send Puk, Jake Diekman, Adam Kolarek and Sergio Romo to the mound against the Rangers on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. PT at Hohokam Stadium. Texas will counter with right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson.