Injured Doolittle on track for Opening Day

Closer not expected to be limited by triceps strain

Injured Doolittle on track for Opening Day

MESA, Ariz. -- A's closer Sean Doolittle has been slowed by a slight triceps strain, but the lefty is still expected to be ready by Opening Day, barring any further setbacks.

Doolittle made his third Cactus League appearance on March 13 but hasn't pitched since. He threw from flat ground on Sunday morning and is tentatively scheduled to pitch off a mound Monday.

"If we don't get any setbacks here, then he'll be fine for the season," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Spring Training information

Shoulder injuries limited Doolittle to 12 appearances in 2015, and a beleaguered Oakland bullpen greatly felt his absence. A's relievers not named Doolittle were charged with 31 losses while converting just 24 of 48 save opportunities, and club executives responded by overhauling the bullpen during the offseason.

Now, the A's are equipped with several reliable arms, including a pair with closing experience: right-handers Ryan Madson and John Axford. Should Doolittle be precluded from the Opening Day mix because of injury, Madson would likely be targeted for closing duties.

Madson, signed to a three-year, $22 million deal this winter, completed another scoreless spring inning, his fourth in as many tries, on Saturday. Doolittle has allowed a run in two of his three appearances but struck out the side in the other.

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