OAKLAND — The A’s will need to fill a vacant spot once again in their beleaguered rotation after Dillon Overton was optioned to the minors Saturday.
That move came as no surprise given the rookie’s struggles with the long ball. Overton gave up two homers in Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Cubs, raising his total to 11 in his first five career starts.
“I talked to him this morning,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It seems like every time he makes a mistake it ends up being a home run. He has done some good things in Triple-A. I certainly don’t think what we’ve seen (so far) is what we have in him. At some point in time he’ll get another opportunity here.”
Overton, whose 11 homers allowed through his first five games are the most by any major league pitcher since at least 1913, was philosophical about things after Friday’s game.
“It’s a crappy feeling, you don’t wanna do that,” the 24-year-old said. “But I’m still adjusting to this league, and these hitters are really good. Your whole life you’ve been the best player, (then) you come up here, everybody’s the best player. It’s not just you. It’s a learning curve. I’m still getting used to it. I’m still learning and I’m just gonna take that every day.”
Melvin said there’s been no decision yet on who starts in Overton’s place Wednesday against Baltimore. The A’s actually have two spots to fill at the moment, as Jesse Hahn went on the disabled list Friday. His next turn comes Tuesday. Jharel Cotton, acquired from the Dodgers last week in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade, pitched well in his Triple-A Nashville debut and would be on turn to throw Tuesday, so he figures to get consideration. Melvin mentioned long reliever Zach Neal as an option for a start too. The right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in three outing since being recalled from the minors (8 1/3 innings).
Given that he would be on turn to pitch Wednesday, Triple-A left-hander Ross Detwiler could also be a candidate, though he would need to be added to the 40-man roster.
Eleven different pitchers have made starts for the A’s in 2016 as injuries and inconsistency have taken a heavy toll. Oakland’s rotation entered Saturday’s game with the majors’ highest ERA (5.26) and the fewest innings pitched in the American League.
It was Turn Back The Clock day, 1981-style, at the Coliseum on Saturday. The A’s wore bright yellow pull-over jerseys from the “Billy Ball” era and the Cubs donned their powder-blue uniforms from the same year. Among the A’s players from that season honored in a pregame ceremony — Dwayne Murphy, Mike Davis, Mike Norris, Rick Langford, Mike Heath and CSN California’s own Shooty Babitt.