Q&A: May talks achievement, support system and A's outlook

September 26th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Martín Gallegos’ A’s Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

OAKLAND --  recorded 12 saves over the first eight seasons of his Major League career. After notching a four-out save against the Tigers on Saturday, his 34th birthday, May now has 20 for the A’s this year.

Reaching the 20-save milestone is a feat that becomes enhanced when you take into account the early-season struggles May battled before he approached the A’s about heightening struggles with his mental health. He was placed on the injured list with issues related to anxiety and remained away from the club from April 19-May 23. Since his return from the IL, May has converted 20 of 22 save opportunities and has not allowed a run in 20 of his last 21 relief appearances.

It has been quite the comeback for May, one he reflected on after save No. 20 on Saturday at the Coliseum:

MLB.com: Getting to 20 saves is a nice milestone. What does it mean to you to reach this mark?

May: I’ve never been in double digits before so yeah, every time you get 10, it is a cool milestone. I got my first big league save here, too. That was also on my birthday, which is a weird coincidence, but it's kind of how these things go. I knew this would happen. Going into today, I was like, ‘I'm going to get a save today.’ It's definitely cool.

MLB.com: Especially with how your season started, to be at this point, what do you think of your ability to bounce back and get to this point?

May: I'm proud of it. I've made some adjustments and planned out how I want to approach taking care of myself mentally so that the day-to-day routine here is more sustainable for me. … I think everyone has a version of that that they go to at some point in their careers. Everyone here has been so supportive. I didn't really know how to say what I needed to do, and they just kind of pointed me in the right direction and everyone was so supportive right away. Without that space, I don't think this would have been possible. I'm really grateful to the A’s organization and everyone in this room and everyone in the coach's room. Grateful to the front office for being patient with me and letting me get that taken care of.

MLB.com: Is it important for the team to finish this season strong to set a tone for the offseason and carry the momentum to next season?

May: Yeah. It is a room of guys trying to establish themselves. Every single guy in this room, with the exception of maybe two or three, are very much in establish-yourself mode. There's a lot of spots to be had. … Guys learning to stay locked in at the end of the year is so valuable.

MLB.com: When you first signed here, you talked about wanting to be part of seeing the development of young pitchers on this team. What do you make of the growth these young pitchers have shown?

May: It’s been awesome to watch. I actually told [manager Mark Kotsay] that there's a new core that is going to coalesce here, just like it does here every single time. … I've seen them kind of start stepping into it on the pitching side like with what JP Sears has done this year. He has been as reliable as anybody can be. [Paul] Blackburn has come off his kind of slow start with the finger injury and has done what he does and then it just trickled down. I think everyone is better today than they were when they got here, and that's a big point. With [Ken] Waldichuk, I’m very impressed with how far he's come along. Then getting Joe Boyle and Mason Miller up here, it feels like there are some exciting arms.