OAKLAND — In something of a surprise move, the A's made room for newly acquired right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija by optioning left-handed starter Tommy Milone to Triple-A Sacramento.
The surprise is seeing Milone sent down, as he's been perhaps the A's most effective starter in the last six weeks, going 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA in his last 11 starts, including six shutout innings against Toronto in a 1-0, 12-inning win over the Blue Jays Friday.
The second pitcher Oakland picked up in the Friday deal with the Cubs, Jason Hammel, also pitched Friday, and there would only be room for one of them to make a start Wednesday before the All-Star break rolls around. And Milone had an option available, while Hammel did not.
This move enables Milone to keep pitching regularly and, once the A's get the makeup of their starting rotation sorted out, he would be available to rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break. There is no guarantee the A's will bring him back right away, but given his success of late, it would seem to be a strong option.
Oakland will have to make another roster move Sunday when Hammel joins the team, a day later than Samardzija.