CLEVELAND -- After logging another scoreless inning in his second Minor League rehab appearance, reliever Michael Wuertz is expected to be activated off the disabled list for Friday's series opener against the Mariners.
Wuertz, who has been out for the past month with right thumb soreness, struck out two in a perfect seventh inning for Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday. The outing came just three days after the right-hander fanned three in a scoreless inning for Class A Stockton.
"Another pretty clean inning," manager Bob Melvin said. "Good chance we'll see him tomorrow."
Seemingly at full health, Wuertz will look to improve upon the 18.69 ERA he posted in six appearances following the break. He had compiled a 2.67 ERA before that time.
Newly acquired Rice arrives to bolster 'pen
CLEVELAND -- Less than 24 hours after being acquired, reliever Jason Rice was placed on the A's lineup card for Thursday's series finale in Cleveland after the club was forced to utilize every arm of its bullpen in Wednesday's 16-inning loss.
Rice, acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for Conor Jackson, was coming from Pawtucket, R.I., home of Boston's Triple-A team, and was expected to land just 20 minutes before game time. After getting to Pawtucket around 5 a.m. from Rochester, N.Y., Rice was at the airport in Providence, R.I., by 7 a.m. and arrived at Progressive Field in the second inning.
At that point, the A's officially placed him on the active roster.
"Hectic," Rice said of his day. "We were coming back on a bus when I heard the news. I still don't believe it. I feel like I'm in a dream right now. I think it's going to be unreal until I can touch the rubber, but I'm glad to be here, blessed to be here. I want to go out and compete and just do what I've been doing."
Originally an 11th-round Draft pick by the White Sox in 2005, Rice was 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA and four saves in 44 appearances with Pawtucket, tallying 89 strikeouts through 85 1/3 innings.
Manager Bob Melvin thought Rice would be available, since his last appearance -- spanning 1 1/3 innings -- came two days ago. But the A's skipper also wanted Rice to get acclimated in the A's bullpen before throwing him into the fire, a plan that went through thanks to Craig Breslow's two scoreless innings of relief in Thursday's 7-0 win over the Indians.
The lone pitcher not available for Thursday's game was Josh Outman, who used 31 pitches while taking the loss Wednesday.
"You look at the innings, and it would suggest some guys wouldn't be available, but we did limit most of the guys and what they did," Melvin said. "You have some games like this over the course of the season, and guys have to step up and be available."
Should the A's have needed a pitcher after Outman, Melvin said he would have considered position players Cliff Pennington and Ryan Sweeney to take to the mound.
Thursday's series finale in Cleveland marked the end to a long and eventful road trip, one that included several lengthy contests, rain delays and painful losses -- including Wednesday's 16-inning defeat, which was highlighted by a questionable call at the plate on the final play.
"I looked at it a few times from different angles," Melvin said Thursday morning. "Different angles show different things, but it did look like from the one angle over the top that he got him and he was out. Nothing we can do about that now."
Asked if he was ready to close out the 10-game road swing, Melvin smiled and replied, "That would be an understatement."
Wednesday's 16-inning game was the 16th of 16 or more innings in Oakland history, as well as the longest since the club played a 17-inning game with the Dodgers on June 17, 2006.