Athletics

Source: A's unlikely to re-sign reliever Shawn Kelley in free agency

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Source: A's unlikely to re-sign reliever Shawn Kelley in free agency

Shawn Kelley played a significant role in the A's stellar bullpen last season, but NBC Sports California has learned the veteran right-hander is unlikely to re-sign with Oakland.

Kelley, 34, has reportedly been in talks with about 10 teams, and his agent Mike McCann confirmed to NBC Sports California that the A's are not among those clubs.

The two sides did have conversations earlier this offseason but have not spoken since Oakland signed right-hander Joakim Soria to a two-year, $15 million deal nearly a month ago.

Kelley earned $5.5 million last season and is projected to get a similar amount next year. As much as the A's would like to bring him back, they have identified starting pitching as a higher priority.

After joining the A's from the Washington Nationals last year, Kelley went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 19 games. Overall, he finished the season 2-0 with a 2.94 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 54 appearances.

He has a career ERA of 3.67 in 10 big league seasons.

Even without Kelley, the A's will boast one of the strongest bullpens in baseball next season. Oakland will bring back All-Star closer Blake Treinen, as well as setup men Fernando Rodney, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken, and Ryan Buchter.

The addition of Soria will add even more depth to the group.

The A's would ideally like to sign another left-handed reliever to join Buchter in the pen, but again, starting pitching is the top priority.

Veteran starters Edwin Jackson and Brett Anderson are both still in the mix to return, though nothing appears imminent.

Clean-shaven A's starter Mike Fiers reveals story behind strange beard

Clean-shaven A's starter Mike Fiers reveals story behind strange beard

In the dog days of summer, baseball players need to do things to keep the clubhouse loose.

Even if that means performing in front of 31,928 fans and thousands more on TV with the strangest beard imaginable.

That's exactly what A's starter Mike Fiers did on Saturday night in Texas.

In case you missed it, Fiers was sporting a beard that looked like the letter "G."

While the beard might have gotten some laughs from his A's teammates and fans, it didn't help Fiers, who left the game in the second inning with right arm nerve irritation. He will undergo tests after experiencing numbness in his right hand.

After the A's 8-6 win over the Rangers, the beard was gone. Fiers met with the media in Arlington and he had shaved the "G" off his face.

"I got hurt," Fiers said when asked why he shaved. "I can't continue that. Just had to shave that off. One-start thing."

As Fiers explained, the strange beard was conceived with the help of his teammates.

"Just being funny, having fun with these guys," Fiers told reporters. "It's a long season, we're in mid-September and just to give the guys a laugh, I'm kinda the guy they want to laugh at, so they dared me to do it or didn't think I'd go out and pitch with it. But I don't care."

Fiers and his teammates got their inspiration from exactly the place you would expect -- the internet.

"We were just looking up fun things to do because I was thinking about shaving my beard and starting fresh," Fiers said. "But we were thinking about something funny to do and we were searching on Google for funny beards and that was one of them that came up."

Fiers beard might have been a laughing matter, but the numbness in his hand isn't.

Before he does any more funny stuff on the field, he needs to make sure he's healthy.

A's Mike Fiers will undergo tests after hand went numb vs. Rangers

A's Mike Fiers will undergo tests after hand went numb vs. Rangers

Mike Fiers will undergo testing on his right hand Monday after part of it went numb as he delivered a pitch in Saturday's 8-6 win over the Texas Rangers.

The A's right-hander recorded the first two outs of the second inning, but on his first pitch to Rougned Odor, a cutter, he felt a shooting numbness in his hand.

"It's kind of scary," Fiers told reporters. "It's happened before, more so on my curveball. It happened to me in the game against the Yankees on a cutter -- similar thing. I had to wait for some feeling to come back in my hand. It was the same thing again today. It just happened earlier in the game."

A's manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta immediately went out to check on Fiers, but he stayed in the game initially. The 34-year-old proceeded to allow a two-run home run to Odor, followed by a walk to Delino DeShields, with decreased velocity in both at-bats. At that point, Melvin decided to take him out.

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"You just can't be too careful with a guy like that," Melvin told reporters. "He just didn't look right to me. He looked like he was wincing a couple of times. He just wasn't comfortable. He was shaking his arm. Hopefully, this is something that works its way out."

Fiers says the pain and numbness went away after the one pitch, but it remained on his mind for the next couple of batters.

"It was just the one pitch," he said. "I threw it, my hand went numb, and I had to wait for some feeling to come back. It was more mental at that point than anything. Altering my delivery is something that you don't want to do. You can get injured further doing that."  

Melvin says it's too early to know if Fiers will be able to make his next start. The team should know more after he's checked out Monday.

"We'll see," Melvin said. "I guess there's the possibility he pitches his next time out if all is good. If not, then we'll figure something out."

Fortunately for Melvin, Oakland has amassed some excellent depth in their starting rotation. The A's have been utilizing a six-man rotation recently, which means they still have five other healthy starters, as well as one wild-card.

"We still have Luzardo in our back pocket," Melvin noted. "So we have some depth. It's a concern because (Fiers) is our number one guy. So we hope everything works its way out here in the next couple of days."