Scribner pushing for setup role in A's bullpen

Scribner pushing for setup role in A's bullpen

KANSAS CITY -- Evan Scribner's role out of the A's bullpen continues to evolve. The right-hander, no longer limited to long-relief duties, has pitched his way to a potential setup opportunity.

A cutter that Scribner added in recent months, with the help of Spring Training roommate Jesse Chavez, who throws one of the better ones in the game, has expanded Scribner's previous fastball-curve repertoire. That added weapon is helping him expand his role.

"Scribs has put himself in a position not just to be more or less a long guy like we've seen in the past," manager Bob Melvin said before Friday's 6-4 loss to the Royals.

In each of his previous three seasons with Oakland, Scribner has logged more travel time between Triple-A and the big leagues than any other A's player. Finally, he's out of options, which has allowed for an extended opportunity. In four games entering Friday's series opener against the Royals, Scribner had allowed two runs -- both on home runs -- in 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two other hits in that time, with eight strikeouts.

The long ball has bit several A's relievers already. As a group, they've surrendered seven total, resulting in 11 runs, entering Friday. Meantime, Melvin has been assessing each as a potential second setup option from the right side.

"With [Dan] Otero being the primary right-handed setup guy, we're a little bit short one guy than we've had in the past," Melvin said. "With [Tyler] Clippard in the closer role now, we've usually used two righties, and [Ryan] Cook was one of those guys, so it could be Scribner.

"[R.J.] Alvarez has got a chance to do that, too, and Chavez, too, but it's the one that's going to step up and pitch a little bit later in the games. I'll monitor and see how all those guys do."

• Rehabbing right-hander A.J. Griffin is set to throw one 20-pitch inning in his first simulated game in extended spring on Tuesday. Lefty Sean Nolin (groin) is scheduled for 35 pitches over two innings in a simulated game on Monday.

• Second baseman Ben Zobrist returned to the starting lineup on Friday, after missing one game with a bruised right heel, and went 0-for-4.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.