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Inbox: Why hasn't Fowler been called up?

Beat reporter Jane Lee fields questions from fans
MLB.com @JaneMLB

Why wasn't Dustin Fowler called up this week? I seriously don't understand these moves.
-- Chris H., Richmond, Calif.

It's easy to understand why fans are itching to see Fowler, and why it would have made sense to replace an injured center fielder (Boog Powell) with a healthy one (Fowler). But the A's are staying the course with Fowler, their No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and want to see him get a good chunk of at-bats at Triple-A before bringing him up for good. This is why they started him there to begin the season, and scrapping that plan now would defeat its purpose. Fowler's time will come, and in the meantime, the A's have two other capable players to help Jake Smolinski in center field: Trayce Thompson and Mark Canha.

Why wasn't Dustin Fowler called up this week? I seriously don't understand these moves.
-- Chris H., Richmond, Calif.

It's easy to understand why fans are itching to see Fowler, and why it would have made sense to replace an injured center fielder (Boog Powell) with a healthy one (Fowler). But the A's are staying the course with Fowler, their No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and want to see him get a good chunk of at-bats at Triple-A before bringing him up for good. This is why they started him there to begin the season, and scrapping that plan now would defeat its purpose. Fowler's time will come, and in the meantime, the A's have two other capable players to help Jake Smolinski in center field: Trayce Thompson and Mark Canha.

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Please explain why we're carrying an eight-man bullpen and a three-man bench. The team's late-inning troubles with runners in scoring position are terrible. Do right by these guys and get an extra bat on the roster.
-- Sean M., Winchester, N.Y.

Well, on the flip side, consider what this bullpen has been asked to shoulder in the early going of the season. The A's, so far susceptible to short outings from their starters, have already been bailed out by the relievers on multiple occasions. An eight-man bullpen has been a must for this club, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The A's are, however, carrying only four starters this week thanks to a pair of off-days, which will temporarily allow them to have that extra bat in tow.

Who is the backup to Matt Olson when Canha is not on the roster? They should have never released Brandon Moss. What a waste of a trade.
-- Tony T., San Jose, Calif.

Moss, remember, was included in the trade with Ryan Buchter largely because the Royals were seeking to shave salary, and the A's were willing to take on that money ($5 million) if it meant they got four years of Buchter. Revamping their bullpen was a priority, and Buchter was a big part of those efforts. Moss, on the other hand, was never expected to stick around. That his second tour with the A's ended so abruptly was perhaps surprising, but that day was going to come eventually.

Canha, of course, can back up Olson while he remains on the roster. Should he return to Triple-A at any point, however, the A's would rely on Chad Pinder to give Olson a rest if need be.

What happened to Renato Nunez? Is he still in the organization?
-- Brent M., Chicago

Nunez is completing his rehab assignment for a left hamstring strain, but the A's will soon have to make a tough decision on the corner infielder/outfielder, who is out of options. If Pinder is still on the disabled list by the time Nunez's rehab stint concludes, the A's could swap out Canha for Nunez -- both play many of the same positions -- and see how Nunez responds to a part-time opportunity. If they elect to stick with Canha, though, they would have to designate Nunez for assignment and attempt to sneak him through waivers.

I noticed Chris Bassitt isn't even in Nashville's rotation that you tweeted out. Is there even a plan for him? He's better than some other guys that have big league jobs right now.
-- James R., Vacaville, Calif.

Bassitt was not built up to start when he exited Spring Training, which explains why he wasn't included in Nashville's season-opening rotation. He did, however, throw 65 pitches across four innings out of the bullpen in his first appearance, suggesting that he will continue to be stretched out and become a starting option soon.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Dustin Fowler