OAKLAND -- An A's bullpen in dire need of reinforcements received some in the form of Evan Scribner and Pedro Figueroa on Sunday.
Both relievers were called up from Triple-A Sacramento after Oakland's relief corps was forced to throw 18 1/3 innings the last two games, thanks to Friday's 15-inning marathon and starter A.J. Griffin's injury in the second inning of what became an 11-inning game on Saturday. The A's also played a 15-inning game on Monday.
To make room for the pair on the roster, outfielder Michael Taylor was sent back down to Sacramento. One spot was also opened up when the team placed Griffin on the DL on Sunday.
"You look at the bullpen usage here in the homestand, and this is very much needed," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
The move gives the A's nine relievers for the time being and only three bench players. That number could have been two, had outfielder Yoenis Cespedes not been healthy enough to return from his wrist injury on Sunday.
"With Michael Taylor, unfortunately, somebody had to go for a reliever," Melvin said. "We'll play a little short on the bench. Even if Yoenis wasn't able to play today, we probably would've made that move and gone with an even shorter bench. We do need bullpen reinforcements. We're not going to push that."
Both relievers appeared in Sunday's game after starter Tommy Milone exited. Scribner allowed three hits in two shutout innings, while Figueroa threw one perfect frame.
It's the second time in three days that Taylor and Scribner have exchanged roster spots. Scribner and reliever Jim Miller were just sent down on Friday to make room for Taylor and catcher Derek Norris after the Kurt Suzuki trade.
Before Sunday, Scribner had a 1.93 ERA in 12 appearances for the A's this season and joins them for the third time. The left-handed Figueroa, meanwhile, is making his fourth stint with the team. He had a 1.50 ERA in nine appearances with Oakland before Sunday's action.
Shoulder tightness puts Griffin on 15-day DL
OAKLAND -- A day after he was forced to leave his start in the second inning with right shoulder tightness, right-hander A.J. Griffin was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the A's on Sunday.
The good news for Griffin is an MRI taken during Saturday's game didn't show any damage, and Oakland manager Bob Melvin said that means the rookie starter -- whose next start was going to be skipped anyway to help limit his innings -- probably won't be out much longer than the mandatory 15 days.
"Obviously I'm bummed, but at the same time I need to just stay with the program, keep going after it like I was every day and just try to get healthy as soon as I can," Griffin said. "We're going to be fine though. We've got tons of awesome guys on the team, going to continue to play good baseball."
Even though Griffin only missed a week when he had a similar injury in college, he wasn't second-guessing the team's decision at all, especially with the current need for relief help. The DL, though, is a new experience for him, having never been on it in his career until now.
"It's going to be weird, but I just have to embrace it and trust the process that they put me through, and I'll be back out there as soon as I can," Griffin said.
Luckily for the A's, they have no shortage of arms -- in fact, they have a surplus of rotation candidates, and rehabbing right-hander Brandon McCarthy is on track to take Griffin's spot.
On Saturday, McCarthy threw his second rehab start since landing on the DL himself on June 20 with reoccurring right shoulder soreness, and Melvin confirmed that the righty should make his next start for Oakland, provided he throws a bullpen session with no setbacks. That outing would be on Friday against the White Sox.
For his part, McCarthy said his shoulder feels good, and "it's time to get back."
A's will monitor struggling closer Cook
OAKLAND -- Ryan Cook's rise has been one of the better stories on an A's team full of good ones this season.
After making the team out of Spring Training, the rookie right-hander soon pitched his way into the closer's role and was the team's lone All-Star.
But Cook has hit a rough patch recently. In the series against the Blue Jays, he's blown two saves and given up tying home runs in the ninth inning on Friday and Saturday. Overall, he's blown four of his last six save opportunities, and his seven for the season are the most in the American League.
Before Sunday's game against the Blue Jays, A's manager Bob Melvin revealed that Cook's hold on the closer role may not be completely secure in light of his struggles.
"We'll continue to monitor that," Melvin said. "Obviously he won't pitch today [after pitching in three straight games]. We'll take all the variables into consideration like we do with anything. You have to support younger guys going through difficult times, [but] there are times that hypothetically you feel like you need to give somebody a break from a role.
"We've shown we can do that too. We'll figure that out here in the coming days."
Cook's biggest problems have come when pitching multiple days in a row. He has a 0.24 ERA in 38 innings when throwing on one or more days' rest, but he's allowed 12 runs in 9 1/3 innings in 11 games with no rest.
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes returned to the lineup on Sunday after only pinch-running in Saturday's game due to a sprained right wrist, which occurred on Friday night. The rookie was at designated hitter instead of outfield to help keep the stress on his wrist light.
Shortstop Cliff Pennington, recovering from left elbow tendinitis, was back in the A's clubhouse on Sunday after spending two games with Triple-A Sacramento on a rehab assignment. Melvin indicated that Pennington could be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list soon.
Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.