The Oakland Athletics have an intriguing pair of pitchers on their 25-man roster as they head down to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels of said Anaheim. Josh Outman was recalled from Sacramento after Sunday’s loss to the Giants and will start in place of Brandon McCarthy Monday night against the Angels. Over the weekend, relief pitcher Joey Devine made back-to-back appearances against the Giants and gave up one hit in two innings of work.
Normally that wouldn’t make the news, but for Outman and Devine, it’s a huge story. Both pitchers lost much of the last two years to elbow ligament replacement surgery, better known as Tommy John surgery. Devine had his surgery in late 2008, while Outman had his surgery in mid-2009.
Both pitchers began this season at AAA Sacramento and now find themselves filling in for other injured pitchers at the big league level. Devine was dealing with the Rivercats, giving up no runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched. He had not pitched in back-to-back games all season but was given that opportunity over the weekend in San Francisco. Outman has struggled with wildness at Sacramento, walking 27 in 37 2/3 innings, but the A’s feel comfortable bringing him up to make at least one start.
It remains to be seen how well these two will rebound from their respective Tommy John surgeries. However, just making it back to the big leagues is a huge step for them. The A’s have had solid starting pitching this season, but injuries have opened the door for Outman. The A’s bullpen was supposed to be a strength but it has struggled to gain some level of consistency in 2011. This opened the door for Joey Devine. It will be interesting to see how they perform the rest of the season.