Doolittle reports no issues after first rehab outing

Closer eyes return to A's bullpen by end of May

Doolittle reports no issues after first rehab outing

OAKLAND -- The only balls recorded by Sean Doolittle in a 12-pitch rehab outing with Class-A Advanced Stockton on Thursday preceded a home run -- one of two allowed, consecutively, by the A's left-hander. But that's not what he took away from his first game action since last season.

"2-0 with two outs, never good," said Doolittle. "Results-wise, I'm not happy about the home runs, but this is still a point in the process where you have to be process-oriented, not as much results-driven. I was happy with the way that I threw and the way that I felt."

Of note, Doolittle struck out two in his first rehab outing and also tried out his new-look slider and changeup. Neither were met with swings, "but I thought they looked pretty good," said the closer, who will next throw for Stockton on Sunday.

Doolittle, who has been working his way back from a shoulder injury since January, hopes to return to the A's bullpen by month's end.

"I got several swings and misses on the fastball, which told me it still had that life that was there, that deception," he said.

In hindsight, Doolittle believed he probably threw too many warmup pitches in the bullpen, the result of a lengthy Ports offensive inning. However that impacted his serving up the homers, Doolittle at least thought it was good to get stretched out more than the 12 pitches indicate.

"He got a little bit tired toward the end there," said A's manager Bob Melvin, "but the most important thing is he felt fine, the shoulder felt fine."

Worth noting

• The A's will soon decide on a start date for Ben Zobrist's rehab assignment. Zobrist, recovering from knee surgery, went through full workouts with the club Friday.

• Left-hander Sean Nolin was reinstated from the disabled list Friday and optioned to Triple-A Nashville, where he will be stretched out to lend the club starting depth. That won't preclude him from potentially joining the A's in the bullpen at some point, however.

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.