Arm issue may keep Devine off A's Japan roster
Reliever still hopes to be ready in time to make trip
PHOENIX -- Right-hander Joey Devine is calling it "typical inflammation" in his right biceps, leftover effects from his 2009 Tommy John surgery. But the reliever's latest setback could potentially keep him off the club's roster in Japan.
Devine, 28, has not been ruled out of making the trip, but he must first pitch in a game and come out of it feeling 100 percent healthy. The goal, manager Bob Melvin said, is to have him back on the mound on Sunday and in a game as early as Tuesday, so long as the former goes well.
The A's embark for Tokyo on Thursday, and Devine has every intention of making the journey.
"I just want to feel good," Devine said. "I'm the first to realize that the plane takes off in a week. That's my goal [for] when to be ready, be right. But for now, I have to take it one day at a time.
"It's just frustrating, because this offseason I worked harder than I've ever worked in my life. I was ready to help this team, but I'm not going to let this one little thing affect how I move forward."
The oft-injured Devine said the inflammation surfaced following his 35-pitch outing on March 8, when he struggled with his command -- walking three and surrendering four runs in just two-thirds of an inning. That followed scoreless outings in each of his previous two spring appearances.
"After the game, I just felt real tired. And the next day, it was really, really sore," Devine said. "It just got tight, and it probably didn't help that I threw 35 pitches, too."
Should Devine progress slower than hoped for in the coming days, the A's could choose to keep him in Arizona for extended Spring Training during the week-long Japan trip. Such a move would hopefully ensure him of being completely healthy by the time the Bay Bridge exhibition series begins on April 2.
"It really just depends on how he responds on Sunday," Melvin said.
If he is without Devine for the two regular-season games against the Mariners in Japan, Melvin still has plenty of late-inning bullpen options to complement Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, including right-handers Fautino De Los Santos and Ryan Cook.