Bats pick up Doolittle after shaky return to hill
A's lefty walks pair, allows 2 runs in first appearance since May
OAKLAND - Sean Doolittle's first game with the A's since May 27 -- and just second this season -- didn't go as planned, but Doolittle was still pleased to be back on the mound pitching in the Majors.
He gave up two earned runs on one hit and two walks before departing in the seventh after 2/3 of an inning and 23 pitches (12 strikes). Doolittle was on the hook before the A's rallied to score seven runs in the seventh en route to an 8-2 win over the Rays on Sunday.
"When you're visualizing it over the rehab process of several months you see it going a little bit differently," Doolittle said.
The left-hander said he tired toward the end of the outing. He also said he struggled to pitch with runners on base -- something that's difficult to simulate in rehab assignment.
He added that his location was inconsistent, but said all of those things are fixable.
"The adrenaline was going really fast," Doolittle said. "It didn't matter how much I tried to slow myself down, I was just going a little bit too fast."
"That first time out there you're always worried about [him struggling]," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's why you don't just stick him in the closer's role.
Despite Doolittle's rocky outing, Melvin and catcher Stephen Vogt both said Doolittle had good life on his fastball, and his velocity got up to 93.
Sometimes it can be tempting to throw all fastballs, but Melvin said Doolittle tried to mix all his pitches.
It remains to be seen whether Doolittle will slide into the closer role.
"It's just always good to see him on the mound," Vogt said. "His first-game nerves, that all plays into it and just excitement and wanting to be just perfect. He really didn't make too many mistakes."