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Petit entering 2020 with starter mentality

@MartinJGallegos
July 18, 2020

OAKLAND -- Going multiple innings isn’t anything new for A’s reliever Yusmeiro Petit. From starting to relieving, Petit has seen just about every role as he enters his 13th Major League season. Though he’s been used solely as a reliever over his past two seasons with the A’s, Petit is

OAKLAND -- Going multiple innings isn’t anything new for A’s reliever Yusmeiro Petit.

From starting to relieving, Petit has seen just about every role as he enters his 13th Major League season. Though he’s been used solely as a reliever over his past two seasons with the A’s, Petit is getting back to his routine from his starting days in preparation for the 2020 campaign.

“I run every day and run the stairs, working like how I used to do before starts,” Petit said before Saturday’s workout at the Coliseum. “I have to be ready for two or three innings so I’m working like a starter. Keeping my arm in shape by playing catch every day and long toss.”

The switch in mentality has been spread throughout the bullpen as the A’s have worked on stretching out as many relievers as they can during Summer Camp. With starting pitchers expected to have a close eye on them through the first couple of weeks of the regular season, A’s manager Bob Melvin may call on a few relievers to go more innings per outing than they’re accustomed to.

Petit, of course, is used to the heavy workload. He led the American League with 80 appearances last season, posting a career-best 2.71 ERA.

“You ask him to do whatever, and he’s there for you,” Melvin said. “He’ll be conditioned to throw up to three innings. He’s thrown more on-call before in the past. He doesn’t look any different.

“He’s constantly striving to get better and has gotten better as his career has gone along. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s getting ready in maybe a different fashion this year with starters not going as long. He’s just a terrific guy to have on the team.”

The days of tinkering with pitches are long gone for the 35-year-old right-hander, though Petit did work on some mechanical adjustments over the past three months. After going over video from some of his outings last season, Petit noticed a move on the mound that was causing him to occasionally tip his fastball to hitters. To combat this, he’s worked on better hiding the ball when coming to the plate.

“I was watching a lot of videos from last year and saw I was tipping some moves,” Petit said. “I worked on that at my house, and I’m running the hands a little more in the back so the hitter won’t see the ball as much.”

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.