Monday August 10th, 2015

Oakland Athletics closer Sean Doolittle could join the team next week as he continues his rehab stint while healing from a strained left shoulder.

Doolittle has only pitched one inning this season and has not pitched since May 27.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin said that Doolittle, who had a partial tear in his rotator cuff in the offseason, will pitch for Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, and could rejoin the A's for their next homestand, which starts Aug. 18 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We want to make sure he feels good mechanically, everything's sound, he's comfortable on the mound," Melvin said to "There's the potential for that."

Doolittle pitched one inning for Class A Advanced Stockton on Friday and threw a bullpen session on Sunday.

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Without Doolittle, the Athletics bullpen have blown 17 saves this season and have the third-worst bullpen ERA in the majors. The team had been using Tyler Clippard in the closer's role before he was dealt to the New York Mets last month before the trading deadline.

Melvin said that the team does not want to rush Doolittle back, but that he could pitch again this season.

"We'll monitor him, he'll have a few outings there and see how he's doing and then at the right time we'll bring him back," Melvin said.

Doolittle was an All-Star last season, converting 22 of 26 save opportunities, with 89 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.

Oakland (51–62), coming off a sweep of the AL West-leading Houston Astros, are in last place in the division and 10 games out of first place.

- Scooby Axson

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