A’s aim to rest rotation more starting Sunday vs. Twins

Locked in a battle with Houston for the AL West crown and in the middle of one of the most challenging stretches of the schedule this season, Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin plans to be creative with his starting rotation for the time being.

That will start Sunday when Chris Bassitt is recalled from Triple-A Nashville to start against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

That will allow Melvin to give all his starters an extra day before their next turn.

“What the schedule allows you to do this year is give some guys some extra rest,” Melvin said Saturday. “We have been leaning on them a little more here recently. So, we want to make sure these guys are fresh down the stretch. ‘Bass’ is pitching pretty well down there at this point, so he’ll get the start tomorrow. We won’t go with a six-man rotation.”

Bassitt has a 4.25 ERA in 17 appearances for Nashville this season and 2-3 with a 3.39 ERA and 25 strikeouts in six starts for the A’s. His last big league appearance came on July 11 when he allowed three runs over five innings in the A’s 3-2 victory over the Astros.

Melvin also has the luxury of a deep and relatively rested bullpen at his disposal to spell his starters or cover innings in the event of a short start.

He’ll also try and get some of his position players a break, too, during this run of 20 games in 20 days. Matt Olson was held out of the starting lineup Saturday after playing in all 129 of Oakland’s games to that point.

“We’ll see where it goes,” Melvin said. “He doesn’t want anything to do with it, but talking to the training staff, there are a few guys that we will look to maybe try to do this with. (Saturday) was his day.”

Sunday will mark the first time that Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios faces the A’s during his three seasons in the major leagues.

Berrios took no decision his last time out despite holding the White Sox to a run on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out four over five innings of work in a game that included a 52-minute rain delay.

“Give Jose a lot of credit,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We were right on the edge there of putting him back out there. Just concerned about how much time went by. He did a nice job of putting up some zeroes after the delay.”

Berrios had just started throwing his warmup pitches for the second inning when the game was delayed but Molitor decided to send him back out when play resumed.

“I didn’t want to come out of the game,” Berrios said. “I kept myself warm, and that’s why they kept me in the game. I didn’t really play catch. Just move around, stretch myself, roll out my arm. When (Molitor) figured out what time we were going to start, I went into my routine: play catch and then go to the mound.”

He’s looking for his first victory since Aug. 4. In three starts since, he has a 5.68 ERA over 12 2/3 innings of work.