Geren opens up the closer role
Skipper plans to give Ziegler, Blevins save opportunities
BOSTON -- Huston Street is no longer the only ninth-inning option for A's manager Bob Geren.
Prior to Saturday's game in Boston, Geren announced that he would not hesitate using the red-hot Brad Ziegler or lefty Jerry Blevins in a save situation.
The question was raised when Street, who has a team-leading 18 saves, warmed up in the seventh inning on Friday night.
"Occasionally, I could," said Geren of using Street before the ninth. "I actually talked with him [on Friday] and just said the way Blevins is throwing and Ziegler is throwing, I could potentially use anybody in any situation right now. If I see a spot that might help us win a game in the seventh or eighth inning, I could use him."
Street has struggled lately. Despite leading the team in saves, he is 1-3 with five saves, three blown saves and a 5.51 ERA in his last 14 appearances entering Saturday.
"If it's a save situation, I could still use [Street]," Geren said. "I'm not making any drastic change other than [saying that] anybody down there could be asked to throw at any time. I didn't want to make a blanket statement 'You're not my closer,' because he could still close games."
Ziegler is on a historic roll, entering Saturday's action with 32 scoreless innings to begin his big league career, a modern-day record, and Blevins is perfect this season with runners in scoring position (0-for-12) and runners on base (0-for-23).
"Right now, I have a couple of guys down there that are extremely, extremely hot, throwing the ball well," Geren said. "For example, if I brought Ziegler in in the eighth and he does a 1-2-3, 10- or 12-pitch inning, I might leave him out there, that's all. It's nothing more than that."
Geren still considers Street his first option as closer.
"It might be more how well the other two guys are doing," he said, "with the flexibility that I might use someone else."
In other relief news, the A's bullpen got a boost when Joey Devine was activated from the disabled list before Saturday's game after missing the last two months with right elbow inflammation. To make room on the roster, Brooks Conrad was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.