Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers was activated off of the injured list on Sunday after dealing with a lumbar strain that had him pushed back since spring training.
“It was just like a low-back/type hip, something,” Fiers told the media on Tuesday. “I don’t think we got down to the exact thing that was wrong, but did some rehab and tried to figure out things that helped me and things that made me feel better.”
Since Fiers has been a starter for most of his career, it took him a while to build it back up again. But with 10 years of experience in the league, he was able to come back from his injury rather quickly all things considered -- but he finds himself coming out of the bullpen now.
“I’m ready for whatever the team needs,” Fiers said, “For me, it’s just about being ready out of the bullpen for now.”
Fiers has come out of the bullpen before, including one game with the A’s in 2018.
“It’s definitely different starting for so many years, you feel like a reliable starter and have done a lot of things to be a starter still in this league,” Fiers added. “It hurts, but at the same time in the position that we’re in as a team, I want to do anything that’s going to help this team and pitching out of the bullpen, you just got to have a mindset of just going out and, ‘Listen, you just have to get outs and take it for what it is.
"Like I said, I’ve been in the bullpen before so I know how it’s ran. I’m sure Bob [Melvin]’s not going to throw me into the fire, throw me into high, intense situations in the game. That’s going to go to other guys, but I’m sure they’ll find innings for me to get in there and stay loose and keep my pitching how it is.”
Having a decade as an MLB pitcher proves he’s durable and no matter what the situation, he manages to find a job. The A’s re-signed him in February to a one-year contract.
With the team off to a strong start, finishing a 13-game winning streak and currently having a 15-8 record, Fiers said he didn’t feel too detached from the team despite watching it all from the sidelines as he worked his way back.
“You still feel a part of the team -- I’m definitely in it every game, I’m out there supporting these guys as much as I can. I want the best for them,” he said. It’s the same right now.
Going from a starter to a possible reliever role leaves Fiers’ options open. Being a veteran presence helps in that regard, but he’s open to whatever he’s given.
“I don’t know what my role is. I know I’m in the bullpen,” Fiers said. That’s my role. Whenever that phone rings and he calls my name, I’m going to get ready to pitch and try to get outs.”
Fiers had to skip the first couple of series against the Houston Astros this season due to his injury, but the A’s once again will find them playing their AL West rivals in mid-May. It’s something he’s not worried about.
“No, it’s another big-league team, another team in our decision that we need to beat and keep playing well against to win this division.”
Fiers revealed the Astros’ cheating ways when it was discovered the team would steal signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. Fiers was a part of that team.
“You guys keep bringing in up about this bad past, but for me, it’s just about playing baseball,” Fiers said. “I said it before I’m kind of past that. I’m just here to play ball.”