The Athletics lost Grant Balfour to free agency this offseason, but they still beefed up their bullpen with the Luke Gregerson, Eric O'Flaherty and Jim Johnson acquisitions. That relief depth will be tested early in camp because two of the club's setup men are already dealing with injury problems:
Cook will be a couple weeks behind. He's dealing with shoulder inflammation. Melvin still thinks he can be ready by OD.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) February 14, 2014
Doolittle also dealing with a setback. He has a right calf strain that will hold him back from throwing for a few days.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) February 14, 2014
Ryan Cook, 26, had a 2.54 ERA (147 ERA+) in 67 1/3 innings last season. Since coming over from the Diamondbacks in the Trevor Cahill trade, the right-hander has a 2.30 ERA (166 ERA+) with a 1.11 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in 140 2/3 innings for Oakland.
Sean Doolittle, a 27-year-old southpaw, had a 3.13 ERA (119 ERA+) in 69 innings last summer. The former first baseman has pitched to a 3.09 ERA (123 ERA+) with a 1.01 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 in 116 1/3 innings since being called up in early 2012.
Cook's injury is a bigger concern because it involves his arm, but it is still early enough in spring training that the team can afford to take it slow with both players. The A's have enough quality relievers to cover for the duo should they not be ready in time for opening day.