Sean Manaea has dealt with a long rehab this season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September, but the left-hander is starting to look like the ace the A's need in their push for the playoffs.
Manaea's latest rehab start in Triple-A with the Las Vegas Aviators couldn't have gone any better. The lefty tossed seven scoreless innings where he struck out 12 batters while only allowing two hits and one walk.
As he inches closer to returning to Oakland, Manaea enjoyed his longest outing this season while rehabbing. The 27-year-old threw 99 pitches with 67 being called strikes, good for a 68 percent strike rate.
Manaea didn't begin his rehab until July and started off shaky. He went 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA over three starts for the Stockton Ports in Advanced Class A and then had a 6.10 ERA later in the month with Las Vegas.
In August, however, Manaea has looked like a completely different pitcher.
The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in August. He also has 28 strikeouts to just four walks in 17 2/3 innings this month.
Oakland acquired pitchers Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark before the MLB trade deadline. While Roark continues to be a steadying presence on the hill, Bailey has been much better this month, allowing one earned run over his last two starts. Adding Manaea would be another big boost to a rotation that already boasts the fourth-best team ERA for starting pitchers at 4.04.
Entering Saturday, the A's are just a half-game behind the Rays for the top spot in the AL wild-card race, and Manaea could be the arm that gives them at least one playoff game in Oakland.