OAKLAND -- The A's opened the regular season with eight relievers on their roster, but a true long man is missing from the bunch.Instead, manager Bob Melvin will seek a collaborative effort from his many relievers who offer one-plus innings when the situation calls for it.Veteran Yusmeiro Petit, who gave
OAKLAND -- The A's opened the regular season with eight relievers on their roster, but a true long man is missing from the bunch.
Instead, manager Bob Melvin will seek a collaborative effort from his many relievers who offer one-plus innings when the situation calls for it.
Veteran Yusmeiro Petit, who gave the Angels 91 1/3 innings last year, including a Major League-leading 87 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, will be Melvin's go-to innings-eater when a victory is in reach. Otherwise, right-handers Liam Hendriks and Santiago Casilla will likely draw the bulk of these assignments.
As promised, Petit entered Thursday's opener in the seventh inning with the A's trailing by a run and worked two scoreless innings en route to a 6-5 Oakland walk-off victory in the 11th.
"Some of those guys are going to have to go two innings," Melvin said before the game. "We have some guys we feel like we can go one-plus with. We might not have a traditional long guy, but we have probably more two-inning guys than we've had in the past, where a lot of times it was just one inning."
Hendriks pitched more than one inning on 11 occasions in 2017, while Casilla was never asked for more than three outs. Not long ago one of the game's premier closers, Casilla's responsibilities have since changed, and the A's will ask the veteran to do a little bit of everything this year.
"We'll see where it plays out," Melvin said. "We're still trying to feel this thing out a little bit. He's going to have to pitch in maybe some different games than he's used to. Even last year toward the end he was pitching a little bit differently.
"It'll be a little bit of a different role for him, but I know he's excited about being on the team."
Melvin will also look to left-handers Danny Coulombe and Ryan Buchter and even his closer, Blake Treinen, to go more than one inning at times, as Treinen did Thursday by way of two scoreless frames.
First baseman Matt Olson and utility man Chad Pinder also enjoyed their first Opening Days as big leaguers. The day doubled as their birthdays, and the A's teammates, who are roommates, were contemplating postgame dinner plans.
"Maybe Postmates," Pinder said, smiling.
A's executive vice president of operations Billy Beane, entering his 21st season at the helm of the organization, also celebrated his birthday. He's 56.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.