Mengden was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday, Julian McWilliams of The Athletic reports. The move is something of a surprise, as Mengden seemed to have a good shot at the Athletics' fifth starter job. He could still win that job, as Oakland's unusual start to the season (an early two-game series against the Mariners in Japan on March 20-21 followed by six days off) means the team may simply want an extra hitter or reliever on the roster until a fifth starter is needed.
Mengden (1-2) fired four scoreless innings in Tuesday's 4-1 Cactus League win over the Rangers, allowing an earned run on one hit and three walks. He struck out two. Mengden was highly effective in long relief, with the RBI double he surrendered to Jeff Mathis serving as the one major blemish on his performance. The 26-year-old right-hander was a relatively solid performer last season in an injury-ravaged rotation, generating a 7-6 record, 4.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP across 22 appearances (17 starts). With both Sean Manaea (shoulder) and Jharel Cotton (elbow) still out for the long term, Mengden profiles as the projected No. 4 or No. 5 starter for manager Bob Melvin to open 2019. The strong outing against the Rangers was a particularly welcome sight after Mengden allowed four earned runs over three innings in his first two spring appearances, both starts.
Mengden allowed three earned runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five across 5.1 innings Monday against the Mariners. He did not factor into the decision. He has pitched primarily as the long-man in bullpen games for the Athletics of late, though he earned the start on Monday. It remains to be seen how he'll be used in the final series of the season, but could start Sunday against the Angels in the final game of the regular season. He now carries a 4.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP across 115.2 innings.
Mengden is slated to start Monday's game against the Mariners, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Mengden has been working out of the bullpen behind opener Liam Hendriks of late, but he'll reclaim a rotation spot for the start of the Athletics' penultimate series of the season. The 25-year-old, who owns a 4.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 67 strikeouts through 110.1 frames in 2018, could make another start in the regular-season finale Sept. 30 against the Angels.
Mengden is scheduled to work as the primary pitcher behind opener Liam Hendriks in Tuesday's game against the Angels, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. After making his first 16 appearances this season as a member of the Oakland rotation, Mengden has shifted to the bullpen since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville in late August. Despite the change in when he enters games, Mengden has remained a de facto starter, covering four-plus innings in three of his four relief outings. The Athletics aren't likely to deviate from how they use Mengden anytime soon, as he's been exceptional in the "primary pitcher" role with a 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in his four appearances.