A's WC roster features long men, versatile offense
Oakland carrying eight pitchers as well as speed, switch-hitting options
KANSAS CITY -- The A's have opted to go with eight pitchers on their 25-man roster for tonight's winner-take-all AL Wild Card Game in Kansas City.
As expected, Oakland is carrying just one extra starter not named Jon Lester, who will take the bump against the Royals for his 12th career postseason start. That would be right-hander Jason Hammel, who last pitched Thursday.
Lefty Drew Pomeranz is also on the roster, giving the A's two true long men in their bullpen for the affair. They'll be joined by closer Sean Doolittle, right-handers Luke Gregerson, Dan Otero and Ryan Cook, and left-hander Fernando Abad. Fellow southpaw Eric O'Flaherty is not on the roster because of a reported arm injury.
Starters Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir, all of whom pitched over the weekend, were left off the list, because clubs can alter rosters for a potential AL Division Series.
With just eight roster spots allotted to pitchers, the A's have a deep bench on hand for the crucial game, featuring a slew of right-handed batters not expected to be in the starting lineup against Kansas City ace James Shields, including Derek Norris, Jonny Gomes and Nate Freiman. Oakland can also counter with switch-hitters Nick Punto and Alberto Callaspo.
Speed is there in pinch-run options Billy Burns and Sam Fuld, and so is infielder Andy Parrino, who provides excellent defense as a backup option to starting shortstop Jed Lowrie.