Athletics

A's still uncertain when Jesus Luzardo will join starting rotation

A's still uncertain when Jesus Luzardo will join starting rotation

A’s phenom Jesus Luzardo won’t pitch in Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. He threw 44 pitches over three innings Saturday, with the team giving him three full days off after that.

That makes him available again Wednesday when ace Frankie Montas is set to pitch. Manager Bob Melvin said he was uncertain when Luzardo would throw and his exact role when he does.

Luzardo started the season in the bullpen despite being earmarked for the rotation because he wasn’t ready to start after spending two weeks in quarantine following a positive coronavirus test.

The A’s will insert him into the rotation at some point soon, though the timing of that could depend on how the pitching staff fares in coming games and where he’s needed most.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

“We’ll see how the bullpen goes today and what we have available tomorrow, and then we’ll make a decision,” Melvin said. “Either he backs up tomorrow or potentially starts. I think a lot of it has to do with how today and tomorrow’s games go.”

[RELATED: A's confident in Chris Bassitt after gritty outing]

The A’s bullpen has been awesome thus far, currently on a run of 15 straight scoreless innings. Relievers have been taxed early, with starters still ramping up toward longer outings. Melvin said several members of a 10-man bullpen are unavailable Tuesday to recover. He expects Montas and his fellow starters to go deeper into games the second time through the rotation.

The A’s want to see Montas go six innings to lighten the bullpen’s load. They hope Sean Manaea can do the same Wednesday heading into a Thursday off day. Finding a spot for Luzardo to ramp up his pitch count is important, either as a piggyback reliever or in the rotation.

Dave Stewart calls Astros 'cheaters,' thanks them for Ramon Laureano

Dave Stewart calls Astros 'cheaters,' thanks them for Ramon Laureano

Dave Stewart had one of the most intimidating stares in MLB history. When the A's pitcher turned NBC Sports California analyst gave you that look, it was game over. 

Stewart once again brought the heat Monday night on A's Postgame Live after Oakland's 11-1 blowout win over the Seattle Mariners. Everyone loves a good dig at the Houston Astros, and Stewart didn't hold back. 

"He's solid, he is a solid player," Stewart said of A's outfielder Ramon Laureano. "How the A's got this guy is unbelievable. And what it took to get is unbelievable in Houston. Houston, thanks once again, you cheaters."

The Houston Astros selected Laureano in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Just three years later, Houston traded the outfielder to Oakland in November 2017 for pitcher Brandon Bailey. 

Laureano, 26, made his MLB debut the next season and has been an integral player for the A's ever since. He hit .288 with five homers and seven stolen bases in just 48 games in 2017, following it up with another .288 season last year. Laureano also added 24 long balls and swiped 13 bags. The center fielder is hitting .324 with two home runs and nine RBI through 10 games this season. 

[RELATED: A's eight-run inning vs. Mariners not as rare as expected]

Bailey, 25, made his big league debut this season for Houston out of the bullpen.

Laureano has one of the best arms in baseball, can knock the ball over the fence and steal a base for extra credit. This was one of the A's best trades in recent memory, and Stewart will remind the Astros as much as he can.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Khris Davis' first home run of 2020 MLB season thrills A's teammates

Khris Davis' first home run of 2020 MLB season thrills A's teammates

Khris Davis connected for his first home run of the season in the A’s 11-1 thumping of the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

It was a shot to left centerfield, into the A's bullpen filled with teammates. 

As he rounded the bases, the bullpen stood up and cheered for him. Starter Frankie Montas, in the dugout, looked more excited than Davis was.

“He needed that, you know?” Montas told reporters after the game. “Just for him to be able to have that day today -- it was huge for him.”

Davis had a stellar 2018 season hitting 48 homers, the most in the league that year. He followed that with a tough 2019 and even rougher beginning of the 2020 season. 

This was well-needed.

“All the way around, really good at-bats,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He felt good today, and you could tell he looked comfortable in the box today so it’s a good start. We’ll see where we go from here, but obviously we know this guy is one of the bigger bats that we’ve had in this organization.”

Davis also showed discipline at the plate with a nine-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning during an eight-run outburst for the A’s. He ended up walking after fouling off four pitches. That at-bat was what led outfielder Stephen Piscotty to believe something was about to happen. Well that, and the fact that Davis made a prediction before the game.

[RELATED: A's eight-run inning on two outs, not a rare feat]

“He looked great today,” Piscotty said. “It was funny -- in BP, he said he was going to go off, and he sure did.”

“We’ve been seeing it,” Piscotty said. “He’s been working really hard and putting the time in and it was nice to see it pay off.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]