Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said he was pleased with the way his team contended during the week’s past roadtrip, where the team went 3-4 against the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.
“They were playing well. We went toe-to-toe with them,” Melvin said about their most recent series with the Rangers. “We beat Darvish – the only time he’s been beaten there. We would have liked to pull one or two more out, but I think we’re competing at a higher level against the better teams than we saw last year.”
But Melvin had more good news to share in Monday’s pregame meeting with the media.
Bartolo Colon will come off the DL and start the second game of the three-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, and Kurt Suzuki will be behind the plate.
“(Suzuki) will be in there tomorrow with Colon,” Melvin said. “ The decision was to either go with Suzuki today and Norris tomorrow and then back to Suzuki, where I wanted to play Norris two games.”
Melvin said catcher Derek Norris would be starting two games behind the plate in the series against the Red Sox, which now appear to be Monday and the day game on Wednesday.
Colon will be pitching his first game since June 17, where he pitched two innings before leaving the game with a strained right oblique. He was placed on the 15-day DL on June 23.
“He’s ready to go. He’s excited,” Melvin said. “A few days ago it looked like he got through a hurdle, and he was looking forward to pitching.”
Melvin also said both Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden have made recent progress in their injury rehabilitations.
He said he was very surprised by how good Braden looked in Monday morning’s throwing session.
“Talk about fired up for an appearance. That was like gameday for him,” Melvin said. “I’m sure he woke up this morning with an extra pep in his step.”
Melvin said Braden threw 20 pitches — all fastballs – and looked good, but he will hold out judgment on a timetable for his return based on how good Braden feels going forward. However, he does expect him to get a few starts in by season’s end.
Anderson will also throw to hitters on Tuesday for the first time since elbow surgery, which Melvin said is the next step in his progress towards getting back onto the mound.
“His last bullpen, he threw two sets of 20, and the second set were breaking balls,” Melvin said.
Anderson has been on the 60-day DL since March 13 recovering from left elbow surgery.