A's deciding Manaea's next step this weekend

A's deciding Manaea's next step this weekend

OAKLAND -- Left-hander Sean Manaea is expected to throw an extended bullpen session on Saturday, which will allow the A's to gauge his progress from a shoulder strain.

Only then will they determine if he'd be bettered by a Minor League rehab start before returning to the rotation.

"What we do with him next, I'm not sure," A's manager Bob Melvin said Friday. "Could be that we send him out on a rehab game just to get a feel for how he's doing without putting the pressure on him throwing in a big league game. It all depends on what goes on with his bullpen tomorrow."

That he's even throwing off the mound Saturday is plenty encouraging. Manaea was originally scheduled to do so Thursday in Minnesota but instead stuck with long toss after experiencing a tinge of soreness.

Rushing him back is neither prudent nor necessary, given the way Oakland's starting staff is performing. The A's will have a tough decision to make upon his return; Jesse Hahn, who has pitched to a 2.53 ERA, and Jharel Cotton, the club's No. 3 starter who has struggled to find consistency, are the likely candidates being considered to be sent down.

"Guys are pitching well right now, so there's no glaring guy that you're looking, OK, [Manaea] is gonna take their place," Melvin said. "Guys have been pretty good throughout the rotation. Obviously we want to get him back, but it's about letting him just go out and pitch without the pressure of a big league game and get a better feel for how the shoulder feels."

The A's are looking forward to having yet another starting option at their disposable next month, when right-hander Chris Bassitt, nearing the end of his Tommy John rehab, is expected back.

Bassitt threw four scoreless innings in his latest rehab start with Class A Advanced Stockton on Thursday, allowing two hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He totaled 57 pitches, hitting 94 mph with his fastball.

"Still a long way to go," Bassitt said, "but I feel really good."

Bassitt's next assignment will come with Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. He's targeted for five innings and up to 75 pitches.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Cesar Valdez, designated for assignment by the A's on Wednesday, was claimed off waivers by Toronto.

• Catcher Josh Phegley (concussion) is feeling better and could resume baseball activity as soon as Saturday, per Melvin.

• Shortstop Marcus Semien, who underwent left wrist surgery on April 20, has been taking ground balls and engaging in tee work with his opposite hand.

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