A's encouraged by Hahn, but stick with Surkamp

A's encouraged by Hahn, but stick with Surkamp

SEATTLE -- The A's received encouraging reports from right-hander Jesse Hahn's first outing in Triple-A Nashville on Friday evening, but their rotation will remain status quo for the time being, allowing lefty Eric Surkamp to make another start.

Hahn, whose shaky spring prompted the A's to demote him in a somewhat surprising move, walked three but allowed just two hits and struck out five across six innings for the Sounds, needing only 74 pitches in that span.

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A's manager Bob Melvin spoke to Nashville manager Steve Scarsone, who liked the way Hahn's sinker looked as the game progressed.

"He was really impressed by his performance," Melvin said, "so it's a real good strong first outing for Jesse."

There's no telling when Hahn will be back in the big leagues, though he's undoubtedly the first in line to join the rotation when there's a need for another arm.

He was 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts for the A's last year but missed the second half with a forearm strain.

"I think that's just something we go start to start," Melvin said. "It's going to be all about performance. If [Hahn] continues to perform, he'll get an opportunity. Surkamp is here now, and if he continues to perform, he'll get some starts, so there's no timetable on any of that."

Surkamp, who allowed two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Friday in his first big league start since 2013, is scheduled to make his next start Wednesday at home in a matchup with the Angels.

Butler remains on bench

A's designated hitter Billy Butler was left out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive day against a right-handed starter Saturday, though Melvin maintained the veteran wasn't restricted to a "strict platoon."

Butler will continue to see the majority of his starts against lefties but could find his way into the lineup against select right-handers, Melvin said.

"I talked to him about it, and he knows there will be some games he doesn't start against a righty, and this happens to be a couple in a row," he said. "But he's always ready to come off the bench."

Outfielder Billy Burns joined Butler on the bench Saturday despite a two-hit night Friday, with the A's opting to start Coco Crisp in center field.

"We try to keep everybody involved here," Melvin said. "Coco's been a big part of this team and will continue to be."

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