Bassitt made three starts over four Cactus League appearances before spring training was suspended, but A.J. Puk's improving shoulder could relegate the former to a bullpen role to open 2020. The veteran right-hander was projected to open the season as a back-end starter when Opening Day was still slated to unfold March 26, as Puk's shoulder issues were expected to keep him sidelined for the early portion of the campaign. The subsequent and considerable delay to the start of the season has bought Puk plenty of recovery time, however, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported the promising southpaw was back to throwing from up to 120 feet.
Bassitt, originally slated for a swingman role, is likely to open the season in the starting rotation due to A.J. Puk's shoulder issues, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. Puk was shut down last week with shoulder soreness and has yet to resume throwing, with the missed time already scuttling the promising southpaw's chances of opening the season in the rotation as planned. Enter Bassitt, whose versatility has allowed him to be effective as both starter and reliever over his five-season major-league career, and who fired three scoreless innings against the Rangers in his latest Cactus League start Monday. The right-hander has generated sub-4.00 ERAs each of the past two seasons while making 39 appearances, seven of those in relief.
Bassitt caught the eye of manager Bob Melvin during his first time facing hitters Tuesday, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. The veteran right-hander was one of the most versatile members of the Athletics' staff last season, logging 25 starts and three relief appearances while generating a solid 3.81 ERA and 1.19 WHIP across 144 innings. Bassitt was one of several pitchers to face hitters for the first time this spring Tuesday, and his stuff particularly stood out to Melvin, who was also highly complimentary of how nimble an asset the 31-year-old proved to be last season. Bassitt, who avoided arbitration by inking a one-year, $2.25 million contract in January, could be slated for more relief work this season if the promising duo of Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk lock down the last two spots in the rotation this spring.
Bassitt agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the A's on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. This is Bassitt's first of three years as an arbitration-eligible player. He will compete for a rotation spot in camp, but he may end up working as a swing man and long reliever for most of the year.
Bassitt allowed only one baserunner and struck out five over three scoreless innings out of the bullpen in Sunday's 8-3 loss to the Rangers. Bassitt was making his second appearance in relief since being dropped from the rotation following a rough start against this same Rangers squad Sept. 13. He's quickly emerged as a weapon in the new role, spinning four scoreless innings while striking out seven. Expect Bassitt to see plenty of high-leverage relief work in the postseason should the Athletics secure a wild-card spot and ultimately advance to the ALDS.
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