Since the Oakland A’s have a double header against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, they are able to add a 26th man to their roster. When the Athletics had their other double header right at the start of the season, they decided to call up starting pitcher Josh Lindblom. Unfortunately, Lindblom gave up five hits and two earned runs in the 4.2 innings he pitched.
This time, the Oakland A’s seem to have a different strategy. Dan Straily has been selected to start the first game, but Manager Bob Melvin has still not decided who will pitch the second game. The choice is between lefty Drew Pomeranz and rookie Arnold Leon who was called up from Triple-A as the Athletics’ 26th man.
Leon looked very good during the spring. He had a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings. He only allowed six hits and three earned runs. Melvin told the press that he has watched Leon grow over the past couple years with the Athletics and is liking what he has seen so far this year. With the Sacramento River Cats this season, Leon has a 4.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.
Pomeranz is also looking strong this season. He has a 1.98 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP while only allowing three earned runs and six walks over 13.2 innings. The only catch is that Pomeranz, who has been a starter in previous MLB seasons, has not started a game yet this year – he has only pitched in relief. One would think that it would be logical for Leon, who is a regular starter in Triple-A, to start the game and have Pomeranz come in as a long reliever.
However, Melvin says that they have been stretching out Pomeranz in preparation for him to start the second game of the double header. In his most recent outing, Pomeranz threw 56 pitches. If Pomeranz is able to pitch roughly the same amount, he will make it through about four innings, which would leave a couple of innings for Leon to pitch. Leon was able to gain experience pitching in relief during this year’s spring training, so he would be comfortable coming off the bench as a relief pitcher for Wednesday’s game.
If Leon pitches on Wednesday, he will be the first A’s rookie to appear in a game this year. And with this being his first call up to the major leagues, he is extremely excited to be in Oakland. Having played in the minor leagues for about seven years and overcoming injuries like Tommy John’s surgery in 2010, Leon is ecstatic just to have the opportunity to pitch in the majors. Leon’s family will be in attendance at the game on Wednesday and will hopefully get to see him pitch whether it be as a starter or reliever.
If Pomeranz is not used in Tuesday night’s game, he will likely start the second game on Wednesday and Leon will likely pitch a relief inning or two. For Leon, this is a dream come true to sit in the Oakland A’s bullpen during a major league game. Let’s hope that the nerves will not get the best of him when he steps out on the mound tomorrow night.
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