Doolittle comes off DL, eyes strong finish to season

Doolittle comes off DL, eyes strong finish to season

OAKLAND -- Following a Minor League rehab stint that spanned more than two weeks, left-hander Sean Doolittle returned to the A's bullpen on Friday.

Doolittle last pitched for the A's since June 25, then spent the next two-plus months rehabbing a strained left shoulder. He made six appearances for Triple-A Nashville and, to much relief, felt like his old self in his last two.

His velocity, topping out at 91 mph in his first few outings, was back in the 93-94 range, and his delivery proved cleaner, too, bringing about his usual deception and subsequent swings and misses.

"It was a lot longer than planned, obviously, but in the end it was also very productive. I wanted to make sure that when I came back, I came right, and after the first three, I only really felt OK and I didn't really feel I could be an asset to the bullpen," Doolittle said. "I felt like if I came back I would be a liability, and it took a little while to work the cobwebs out. But I feel really good about where I was after the last couple outings."

Doolittle was also sidelined by shoulder injuries on two occasions last season, limiting him to just 12 games. He's made 35 appearances this season, posting a 2.93 ERA.

"I want to be able to finish the season on a good note and not have that [injury] kind of hanging over my head and all that uncertainty going into the offseason," he said. "So I'm excited to be back here and looking forward to contributing again."

The A's also added backstop Matt McBride to their roster on Friday, giving them three catching options.

Nashville manager honored

Nashville manager Steve Scarsone was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year on Friday. The announcement came exactly one week after the Sounds (83-57) were crowned American Southern Division champions.

The award is voted on by the league's managers and media.

"To finish the way they have, and for us to take as many guys as we have from them, it's really a feather in his hat to get that award today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Congratulations to him and the team as well." 

There are 15 players on Oakland's active roster who began the season with the Sounds.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) is expected to throw three innings in another rehab start for Class A Advanced Stockton on Saturday.

• Right-hander Sonny Gray (forearm) played catch from a distance of 90 feet on Friday and still holds out hope he can pitch again this season.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.