On the same day fill-in closer Liam Hendriks was named the American League Reliever of the Month, the A’s welcomed Blake Treinen, the man who usually fills the role, back from the injured list.
There will be no closer controversy: Treinen will get one outing in a non-high-leverage situation, then he will be back in the spot where he enjoyed a record-setting season last year.
“He’s had a pretty good body of work for us,” manager Bob Melvin said of Treinen. “We just want to make sure he’s healthy and gets out there. You can do all the minor-league rehab you want, it’s different at the big-league level. So we want to get him a game where he feels comfortable.”
Treinen, who missed 12 days with a right shoulder strain, said Wednesday he’ll work wherever the team needs him, but, he said, “I’m not worried about it. I’d love to work in the ninth, but I don’t make those decisions. Whatever is best for the team, I’m OK with it.
“It’s whoever’s spot earns it. No one is entitled to it. This business is ‘what have you done for me lately?’ It’s about production.”
In 2018, Treinen’s 0.78 ERA was the lowest in major-league history by a pitcher with a minimum of 80 innings. He was also the first pitcher in big-league history with 30 or more saves, 100 strikeouts and an ERA under 1.00.