Oakland's bullpen imploded on Friday night after a strong effort by starter Brandon McCarthy, and in another two weeks or so, the complexion of the unit might look a little different.
Michael Wuertz, who has been out since the first series of the season with a hamstring strain, will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Stockton on Saturday and he could be back in Oakland by early next week, even if he makes two rehab appearances.
Even more important, as far as the A's are concerned, is that closer Andrew Bailey is progressing briskly as he returns from a forearm strain incurred during spring training. Bailey is throwing bullpen sessions every three days, and he should be close to having hitters stand in while he throws, and then perhaps throw a simulated inning.
Toward the end of the month, Bailey could be on a rehab assignment of his own, and then back in his customary role as the A's closer.
On Friday, the A's fill-in closer, Brian Fuentes, followed saves in five consecutive Oakland wins with a blown save; Miguel Cabrera hit a solo homer off Fuentes leading off the ninth to tie the game. Fuentes allowed two hits, three walks and six runs, three earned, in 1 1/3 innings, and Brad Ziegler allowed two more runs.
The A's had hoped Rich Harden might be an option in either relief or in the rotation at some point, but Harden has a teres major muscle (behind the lat muscle) injury, according to MLB.com, and he will not throw for several days.
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