Mengden moved into a bullpen role July 31 after the Athletics added Jesus Luzardo to the rotation, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Mengden hasn't been used since his last start July 28, while Oakland's top pitching prospect strengthened his hold on a rotation spot by tossing five shutout innings Tuesday against the Rangers. The Athletics presumably still view Mengden as the next man up in the rotation, but he'll be largely limited to low-leverage mop-up work while he's in the bullpen.
Mengden (0-1) allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four over four innings in a loss to the Rockies on Tuesday. Sam Hilliard, the Rockies' eight-hole hitter, was a thorn in Mengden's side, doubling and later homering off the right-hander. Mengden entered this contest with a 4.54 FIP and 1.30 WHIP for his career, so he's a capable, if unexciting spot starter. The A's are hoping to get Jesus Luzardo stretched out and back in the rotation sooner rather than later.
The Athletics activated Mengden (elbow) from the 45-day injured list Wednesday. Mengden was first placed on the 60-day IL in mid-February after requiring arthroscopic right elbow surgery, but he made a full recovery from the procedure while MLB was on hiatus for four months. After satisfying the Oakland coaching staff with his performance during summer camp, Mengden will open the season as the Athletics' fifth starter, taking the spot that was opened by A.J. Puk's (shoulder) move to the 10-day IL.
Mengden (elbow) will open the season as the Athletics' fifth starter after A.J. Puk was placed on the injured list with a shoulder strain Monday, Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News reports. Mengden underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery back in February but is considered fully healthy, though he remains on the 60-day injured list for now. He may not have been the next man up if not for Jesus Luzardo's late arrival at camp due to COVID-19, and there's certainly a chance Luzardo displaces him from the rotation once he builds up his arm strength, but Mengden should at least get to make a start or two at the beginning of the year. He won't be a particularly exciting fantasy option in those starts, as he owns a career 4.68 ERA and a 17.3 percent strikeout rate.
Mengden (elbow) worked with pitching coach Scott Emerson on modifying his delivery during the recent shutdown, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. "I've been trying to shorten up my arm action just a little bit," Mengden said. "I felt weird last year. I'm trying to be a little more fluid with not as much movement back and forward. Trying to keep everything smooth and repeatable." The right-hander has previously utilized multiple pumps during his windup, but due to some of the inconsistencies that may have produced, Mengden has opted to eliminate some of the extra movement as well as a slide step. The intent of the change is to allow Mengden to work quicker and keep his release point steady, both of which have been issues at times in the past. The early returns have been encouraging, with Mengden looking sharp in simulated games and teammate Matt Olson praising the pitcher's curveball, movement and command.
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