Melvin shuffles A's rotation due to rainout
OAKLAND -- With two postponed contests and a doubleheader in the first five days of the 2014 campaign, A's manager Bob Melvin and his starters have been playing everything by ear.
Following Friday's postponement, Melvin moved scheduled starter Dan Straily back to Saturday, setting him up to face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. In turn, Saturday's scheduled starter Tommy Milone will be skipped through his first time in the rotation, as Melvin will go with Opening Day starter Sonny Gray for Sunday's contest.
Since starting pitchers are creatures of habit, Melvin said the early-season changes have certainly presented a challenge for the manager and his pitching staff. But the optimistic Melvin also found a silver lining in Friday's postponement.
"That's the biggest thing, is that it gets you out of the routine that's important to you early in the season," Melvin said. "You play the cards you're dealt. Yesterday, I had a bullpen that probably wasn't anything close to full, and getting them a full day off for today, we'll be in a lot better shape."
Wednesday's doubleheader forced Triple-A righty Josh Lindblom into an emergency start for the A's, and Milone will be skipped, but things should settle down next week. Following Minnesota's home opener on Monday, the A's and Twins will have a rare Tuesday off before Oakland will wrap up the nine-game road trip with eight games in eight days.
Melvin said Oakland planned on giving Milone work this weekend in an effort to stay sharp, but the team didn't have any specifics to share. Later on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Milone would travel to Arizona to face Minor Leaguers on Sunday before rejoining the team in Minnesota.