Graveman optioned after early struggles; Chavez to rotation

Manager Melvin expects right-hander to return to Majors

Graveman optioned after early struggles; Chavez to rotation

OAKLAND -- Kendall Graveman has been bumped from the A's rotation and optioned to Triple-A Nashville and replaced in the rotation by Jesse Chavez, after struggling to the tune of an 8.27 ERA in his first four starts for the club.

This wasn't the beginning the A's envisioned for the right-hander, particularly after such a strong spring showing, with just one earned run allowed in 25 1/3 innings.

Graveman stumbled out of the gates and was never able to showcase a consistent sinkerball that fueled him through the exhibition season, with opponents hitting .343 against him in his first big league stint as a starter.

He was lacking in movement and depth and, at times, confidence -- all of which the A's think he'll be able to more easily rediscover in a different environment. The 24-year-old tossed fewer than five innings in three of his four starts, including Saturday, when he allowed six runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Astros.

"I think he's trying a little too hard and putting some pressure on himself," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "For a guy that's had such a quick road to the big leagues, now he's going through something he's never really had to go through before."

At this time last year, Graveman was pitching at the Class A level. He jumped four levels to get to the big leagues in a year's time, making five relief appearances for the Blue Jays, who later packaged him in the Josh Donaldson deal.

"We expect him back here," said Melvin. "This is just a respite for him, a break to go down and work on some things without the pressure of dealing with the big leagues. He's shown us how talented he is, just needed a little break right now."

Melvin said Chavez's return to the rotation was an "easy decision."

Chavez's strong start

The right-hander made a spot start for Jesse Hahn (blister) in Anaheim last week and allowed just one hit -- a solo home run to Kole Calhoun -- over six innings. He was 8-7 with a 3.44 ERA in 21 starts for the team last year.

"He was as good as a lot of the guys on our team that made an All-Star team," said Melvin. "We're lucky to have a guy like Jesse Chavez."

"It's just a different title change and role," said Chavez. "That's the way I look at it. I still have to go out there and do my job and take the ball whenever I'm asked, throw strikes, and give us the best chance to win and go as deep as I can in the ballgame."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.