Hahn to start A's Cactus League opener

Hahn to start A's Cactus League opener

MESA, Ariz. -- A's right-hander Jesse Hahn, looking to sneak his way back into the rotation, has been gifted the opportunity to make an early impression. He is set to start Saturday's Cactus League opener against the defending World Series champion Cubs.

Hahn was the A's No. 3 starter when the 2015 season opened, but he went down to injury after just 16 starts -- pitching to a 3.35 ERA -- and he has since struggled to showcase that form consistently, spending much of 2016 in the Minor Leagues and consequently becoming a bit of a forgotten man.

The 27-year-old could quickly change that, beginning Saturday at the Cubs' spring home of Sloan Park.

Hahn snags the comebacker

"I think after the year he had last year it's important for him this year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We have to show some faith in him, because he did perform well for us the year before, and was a little out of sync last year and wasn't consistent. But looking at his early bullpens, his sinker looked really good, and that's awfully important for him.

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"We'll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start. The talent level is there."

Said Hahn last week: "You control the things you can control, you worry about pitching and getting outs and competing, and let all the other stuff fall in place."

Melvin also announced tentative starters for the ensuing three games. Right-hander Kendall Graveman is scheduled to start Sunday's home opener at Hohokam Stadium against the Angels, with right-hander Sonny Gray and lefty Sean Manaea piggybacking Monday's affair in Scottsdale against the Bay rival Giants. On Tuesday, likely fourth starter Jharel Cotton and fifth-starter candidate Andrew Triggs will pitch in tandem against the visiting Indians.

All games are scheduled for 12:05 p.m.PT.

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