Athletics welcome depth from additions of Fiers, Kelley
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Asked about his best role in the Oakland bullpen, Shawn Kelley barbed himself.
“25-1’s fine, whatever,” he quipped Tuesday as he joined his new Athletics teammates.
The Washington Nationals cut Kelley last week, a day after he slammed his glove to the ground and glared into the dugout while pitching the ninth inning of a blowout win over the New York Mets. The Nats were ahead 25-1 when Kelley surrendered a two-run homer and lost his cool.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said of Kelley: “You’re either in or you’re in the way. I thought he was in the way. That’s something you don’t come back from.”
It was an embarrassing moment for Kelley. But, he says, that’s not who he is.
“I got frustrated because I gave up a homer. I meant no disrespect,” Kelley said. “I’ve always been a team guy.”
Now with his fifth big league team, the 34-year-old righty is ready to help Oakland chase a playoff berth.
“I hope I can help out in any way and help them keep rolling,” Kelley said.
Oakland began the day 4 ½ games back of AL West-leading Houston. The A’s also held the second wild-card spot.
Another new acquisition, Mike Fiers, figured he would be staying with Detroit for the rest of the season, even with all the trade chatter surrounding the right-hander.
“I wasn’t trying to put too much thought into it just because I’ve got to perform for the Tigers at that time,” Fiers said. “I wasn’t really planning on going anywhere and just focused on what I had to do there. The time came and I was traded and now I’m here trying to do my job every fifth day.”
The A’s got Fiers on Monday, and he will make his Oakland debut Wednesday night opposite Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had this many quality arms in the bullpen ever since I’ve been managing,” A’s skipper Bob Melvin said.
Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA this season and 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA over his last seven starts.
“There’s a lot of outside sources that might be able to get in your head and take you out of what your task is, but I’m just trying to focus on every fifth day and starting,” Fiers said.
Last month, the A’s got reliever Jeurys Familia from the Mets.
“Everybody was thrilled to death when we got Familia and then to make two more moves, savvy moves, after the deadline just picks the group up,” Melvin said.