SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A's reliever Joey Devine has been sidelined for a week while dealing with right biceps soreness, manager Bob Melvin confirmed to MLB.com on Thursday.
Devine last pitched on March 8 against the Dodgers and struggled with command, walking three and surrendering four runs in just two-thirds of an inning, following scoreless outings in each of his previous two spring appearances.
According to pitching coach Curt Young, Devine threw from 100 feet on Thursday and also tossed 15 pitches from flat ground, coming out of the day feeling healthy. However, there is still no timeline for his return to games, and the oft-injured reliever's most recent setback could affect where he begins the season.
Coming into camp, it appeared injury would be the only thing preventing the 28-year-old, out of options, from landing on the Opening Day roster. Just how many more days Devine misses will determine his readiness for the season, and considering he's compiled just 2 2/3 innings this spring, the A's may decide it best to keep him in extended spring should that time be lengthy.
Back spasms interrupted Devine's season last year, his first full season since 2008 after missing the previous two while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
The A's, already counting on bullpen arms Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Fautino De Los Santos, have several options for the other spots, including right-handers Ryan Cook, Andrew Carignan and Travis Schlichting and southpaws Jerry Blevins and Jordan Norberto, among others.
Colon scratched from his start vs. Texas
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A's right-hander Bartolo Colon was scratched from his Thursday start against the Rangers because of a bothersome blister on his middle finger.
Manager Bob Melvin said the decision to rest him was more precaution than anything, and he expects Colon to either pitch in Friday's evening contest against the Mariners or in a simulated game that would offer him a chance to pitch in a controlled environment.
Colon is still on track to start Wednesday, putting him in line to make his scheduled start a week later in Japan for the second of two regular-season games against Seattle. In two starts this spring, the 38-year-old veteran has allowed four runs with five strikeouts and no walks spanning 6 2/3 innings.
In place of Colon, the A's slotted in righty Brad Peacock to start Thursday's road affair with the Rangers, while Brandon McCarthy stayed behind to pitch in a Minor League game at Papago Park.
Blevins feels his road will be a lot simpler
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jerry Blevins easily racked up more miles than any other A's player last year, a feat he's not necessarily looking to repeat this season.
That'll be hard to do, considering he's out of options. But that wasn't the case in 2011, when he traveled between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento a half-dozen times. It surely didn't make for the easiest of seasons for the left-handed reliever, but in looking back, Blevins said it was a test.
"It really was a test, almost," Blevins said. "I thought if I can get through this and handle it and smile on my way to the park every day when I get sent down and was genuinely excited every time I was called back up, I can view every time as the first time. You don't ever want to be a bitter teammate in Triple-A, because you're not where you should be. You want to show them you can have fun no matter where you are, and I did that."
Blevins is having plenty fun this spring, for many reasons. His offseason wasn't defined by rehab, as it had been in recent years, and he's put himself in a good position to break camp as the second lefty in manager Bob Melvin's bullpen. He's also enjoying pitching under a coaching staff that he knows will be much more vocal about his role -- something he didn't have at all times last season.
"Early on in the year, I figured that was going to be my role, going back and forth like I did," he said. "It was never verbally relayed to be me, but I figured it out on my own."
It made for a strange season, as Blevins tossed 28 1/3 innings for the A's and 29 2/3 innings for the River Cats, yielding different results in each venue. Command plagued him in the Majors, where he walked 14, but still managed a 2.86 ERA. In Sacramento, he walked just seven next to 35 strikeouts, but posted a 4.85 ERA.
Blevins' lengthy season was followed by a rather short offseason, as he began throwing extensively in November. His workload hadn't been so heavy since 2006, when he participated in winter ball. Not coincidentally, he believes, the lefty put together his best season statistically the following year.
"I feel stronger than ever before, and my arm feels great," he said. "Coming in, I wanted to basically be as healthy as I could and as prepared as I could. I wanted to be at 100 percent by Opening Day, because I've been a slow starter in the past. I feel like I'm there."
That work has Blevins primed for a spot on the team's trip to Japan, unlike four years ago.
"I was so sad in 2008 when I didn't go," he said. "I was literally the last guy they told wasn't going, so I'm really looking forward to it this time. I'm excited to see their take on baseball."
Daric Barton, who has been restricted to designated-hitter duties as he rehabs his surgically repaired right shoulder, could potentially play first base for the first time this spring in one of Saturday's split-squad games, manager Bob Melvin said. Barton is still considered a possibility for the Opening Day roster, despite being delayed in camp.
Infielder Brandon Hicks, whom the A's claimed off waivers from the Braves on Tuesday, has been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Time is running out for right-hander Brad Peacock to make his case for one of three open rotation spots, and Thursday's shaky performance didn't help those chances. He allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in just 2 1/3 innings against the potent Rangers, upping his spring ERA to 12.86.
A noticeably frustrated Peacock said he felt fine, but he was simply missing spots, forcing him to fall behind in one too many counts.
"He's going through a tough stretch," Melvin said. "He hasn't had the greatest draws in the world, but he's going to have to face them at some point in time. We still feel really good about him. The results aren't what he wants to see right now, but his stuff is still good."
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes hit a sharp single up the middle in his first at-bat Thursday, but went hitless in his other three times to the plate. He is now 3-for-12 in four games and will get the day off Friday.
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, pitching in a Minor League game Thursday, allowed two runs on five hits while fanning six and walking none in five innings. He threw 73 pitches and is scheduled for one more spring start before starting the A's regular-season opener on March 28 in Tokyo.