San Francisco Chronicle
Brown back from COVID list
Bob Melvin’s offensive flexibility increased Friday when the A’s reinstated outfielder Seth Brown from the injured list and optioned catcher Austin Allen to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Brown adds a power bat that Melvin can employ off the bench or in the lineup against right-handed starters. Brown began Friday batting .203 with 16 homers in 232 at-bats this season.
“It’s nice to have him back,” the A’s manager said in his pregame news conference Friday. “Having a third catcher was more about if you had an injury or something like that, where Brownie actually could be a significant piece for us.”
Brown tested positive for the coronavirus last month and went on the IL on Aug. 27. He went 2-for-5 with a homer and three strikeouts in a rehab assignment in Low-A Stockton’s 16-6 loss at San Jose on Thursday night.
For Oakland, Brown has made 59 starts this season, 58 of them when the opposing team started a right-hander. However, he was not in Friday’s starting lineup against Texas rookie right-hander Glenn Otto.
Allen is 2-for-8 with a homer in two stints with Oakland this season.
Pitching updates: Chris Bassitt is scheduled to throw 20-25 pitches off the mound Saturday as he tries to return to action after his frightening injury Aug. 17 in Chicago.
The right-hander took a line drive off his face in a 9-0 loss to the White Sox. A week later, Bassitt underwent surgery. He remains committed to pitching again in 2021.
“It’s pretty amazing that he’s pretty steadfast in what he wants to do,” Melvin said of Bassitt.
Bassitt spent part of Friday catching footballs. He’ll also work Saturday on pitchers’ fielding drills. Those activities are intended to test his vision.
“I don’t think his arm’s going to be an issue, getting that ready,” Melvin said. “It’s just making sure he’s comfortable with seeing a baseball that’s potentially hit back at you pretty hard.”
Bassitt had put himself in consideration for the Cy Young Award with a 12-4 record, 3.22 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 151 innings.
Melvin is holding out hope that Bassitt can pitch again this season.
“Toward the end (of the season), he might be able to give us some significant innings,” Melvin said.
Mike Fiers’ chances to return this season have to rate as unlikely, but he did throw off a mound Friday. Elbow problems have limited Fiers to two appearances this season. The right-hander has been on the IL since May 7.
Melvin appreciates Fiers’ desire and effort to contribute before the end of the season.
“He wouldn’t be going through this right now if he wasn’t trying to get in that position,” Melvin said.
Briefly: The A’s entered Friday with a 9-7 record against Texas. One win this weekend would give them five consecutive seasonseries victories over the Rangers. That would rate as the A’s longest such streak over the Senators/Rangers franchise. … The A’s entered Friday with a .237 batting average. Their lowest average in a full season in Oakland history is .236 in 1982.