05/22/12 9:55 PM ET
Recker, Godfrey developing solid bond
By Jane Lee and Ben Estes / MLB.com
It had to help, then, that Godfrey had a familiar face for a battery mate.
Catcher Anthony Recker has partnered with Godfrey often over the past several years, both in the Minors and the Majors. He caught each of Godfrey's three previous starts for the A's this season and was in the lineup again on Tuesday.
The pair's history of success together was a factor in A's manager Bob Melvin giving regular catcher Kurt Suzuki the day off and starting Recker instead. Recker said that having that familiarity is a boon for both players.
"It makes it much easier, just having any kind of comfort level," Recker said. "Just knowing what a guy does, and what he does successful, is the most important thing, knowing what he can do and what he can't do and just using it in the game."
Melvin said that Godfrey has done everything the A's have asked of him in his time in the Minors. The key for the right-hander is to translate his success at Triple-A Sacramento to the big leagues, and nobody has a better idea of what's needed to do so than Recker.
"[He just has to] be himself," Recker said. "He's got great stuff, he's got good command, he pounds the zone, he throws a lot of strikes. As long as he does that, as long as he does what he normally does, what he's good at, he'll be fine."
A's option Figueroa to call up Godfrey
OAKLAND -- Just hours before he was slated to throw the first pitch of Oakland's second contest of a three-game set against the Angels on Tuesday, right-handed starter Graham Godfrey's promotion from Triple-A was made official.
To make room for Godfrey on the 25-man roster, the A's optioned lefty reliever Pedro Figueroa to Sacramento, where he did not allow a run in five games to start the season. He made his Major League debut with Oakland on April 21 and posted a 2.00 ERA in just eight appearances since then.
"We just weren't getting him the consistent work he needs," manager Bob Melvin admitted. "He's probably better suited to get more innings down there, more regular work. Certainly we have very high expectations for him. We expect him back potentially at some point in time here. He really has a special arm. There were just some things in the way of getting him the regular work."
Godfrey's second stint with the A's this year comes in the wake of an injury to Brandon McCarthy, who is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, and it follows an impressive showing in Sacramento, where he was 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA, walking just five and striking out 22 in 29 2/3 innings.
"He's gone down and done exactly what we asked him to do, has dominated again -- deserving of the start, as he's been every time he's been called up," Melvin said. "I know he's fired up and excited about the start. We need him to throw strikes, get ahead, use his off-speed stuff. He knows that. It's just about consistency for him."
As for McCarthy, head trainer Nick Paparesta said Tuesday that the pitcher should be set to pick up a ball by the end of the week, putting him on track for his June 2 return date.
Cespedes swings bat in rehab for first time
OAKLAND -- Despite not coming off the disabled list on Tuesday, the first day he was eligible to do so, A's center fielder Yoenis Cespedes made significant progress in his rehab for the strained left hand muscle that has sidelined him since May 7.
The rookie took some swings in the batting cage with three different sizes of fungo bats -- the first time he's swung a bat of any kind since landing on the DL -- and reported no pain or discomfort. Barring any setbacks, Cespedes should be able to begin swinging a regular bat on Wednesday, and will continue to progress through the various rehabilitation steps.
"Over the last 48 to 72 hours, he's probably made the most progress that we've seen out of him, in regards to how he's feeling, his strength [and] his ability to do certain provocative tests without any discomfort," said head trainer Nick Paparesta.
Paparesta said the team would learn a lot about Cespedes' status when he begins dry swinging, because swinging and missing had caused the outfielder the most discomfort.
For a player with a powerful swing like Cespedes, hand injuries can be especially tricky, and there's still no set timetable for Cespedes' return.
"We need to take this the thing the right way because we want to be able to just let [Cespedes] go and do his thing, and swing the way he wants to swing," Paparesta said.
Cook turning to Fuentes for guidance
OAKLAND -- It appears youngster Ryan Cook is helping out Brian Fuentes just as much as the veteran is aiding the rookie.
"I just know, when I follow him in the ninth, the other team is salivating because he's out of the game," Fuentes said, laughing. "This guy's coming in throwing 95 and snapping off all kinds of crazy off-speed pitches, and they're happy to see me come into the game. Maybe it gets them a little overaggressive, I don't know, but it's good to have a setup guy with electric stuff. It makes my job easier."
Since taking over the closer's job May 12, Fuentes has allowed just one run in the four outings that have followed an appearance by Cook, whose scoreless streak of 21 2/3 innings has been well documented. Cook, 24, repeatedly has credited Fuentes with helping him make the adjustments necessary of the eighth-inning role.
"Words don't even describe how I feel about him," Cook said. "He's been a big help to me, in helping me prepare, getting myself ready for the eighth-inning role. He's one of the first ones here every day getting his work in. The way he carries himself, just the way he goes about his business, the confidence he exudes and just the sure way to handle yourself in all situations, whether it be good, bad or ugly, it's all something I've taken in."
For Fuentes, 12 years older than Cook, it seems like just yesterday he was observing the routines of former Rockies teammates Todd Jones -- owner of 319 career saves -- and Steve Reed. From them, he stole some ideas to incorporate into his own routine, created some of his own, ditched others along the way and, now in his 12th year, is imparting the lessons he's learned along the way to Cook.
"More about routine, not so much how to pitch per se," he said. "Obviously he's done a tremendous job of that. I'm just trying to help him more with handling the workload. Being an eighth-inning guy, it's taxing on the body, and to throw as hard as he does, it definitely can wear out your arm quickly. I just try to give him advice on finding a routine and staying healthy, because obviously his talent is there. Eventually I think he's going to have a long career as a closer, if he can stay healthy."
For now, Cook is simply enjoying his job of handing the ball over to the closer, rather than acting as one.
"It's awesome. It's great," he said. "He's been there for me. I observe and see the way he does it, and I respect the way he does it, and I just try to draw from that as much as possible. I took a lot of pride in handing him the ball when he got his 200th save. Being here and being a part of that was big."
Regulars Kurt Suzuki, Josh Reddick and Jemile Weeks all received a scheduled day off Tuesday and are expected back in the lineup for Wednesday's matinee meeting with the visiting Angels.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.