OAKLAND -- The A’s are inching closer towards regaining a couple of key pieces to their roster.
On Thursday night, Burch Smith (groin strain) made his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Las Vegas. The right-hander worked 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and no walks with two strikeouts while throwing 17 of his 31 pitches for strikes.
Because Smith had kept his arm in good shape while rehabbing, A’s manager Bob Melvin said it might not be too long before he returns to Oakland’s relief corps.
“It could be as simple as coming right back. Could be one more [outing] depending on how he feels afterward,” Melvin said. “I haven’t talked to the training staff about that yet. But he had been throwing enough and doing enough things that we’re comfortable where his arm is. It’s just about if he got off the mound enough and tested his legs. Could be pretty soon.”
Smith has been sharp since joining the A’s in 2020, allowing just four runs with 14 strikeouts across 15 innings as he evolved into a multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen.
Meanwhile, super-utility man Chad Pinder (left knee sprain) ran the bases at the Coliseum prior to Friday’s game against the Rays, which was his final step before beginning a Minor League rehab stint.
“If all goes well there, he could be going out as soon as the next couple of days for a rehab assignment,” Melvin said. “I’m not sure how long he’ll be out on rehab.”
Pinder, who landed on the 10-day injured list on April 5 after crashing into the right-field wall at the Coliseum after completing an impressive leaping catch, was 3-for-10 with a homer in four games prior to the injury.