PITTSBURGH -- For the second time this week, the A's are calling up a former first-round Draft pick.
After promoting 2009 first-rounder Grant Green on Monday, the A's are expected to be joined in Pittsburgh on Wednesday by right-handed pitching prospect Sonny Gray, their first-round selection in 2011.
In 16 starts with Triple-A Sacramento, Gray is 8-5 with a 2.81 ERA and 107 strikeouts next to just 34 walks in 102 1/3 innings.
The 23-year-old hurler, scratched from his start with the River Cats on Tuesday, will be used out of the bullpen, manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday night, when the team optioned starter Dan Straily to Sacramento. It remains to be seen in what capacity, though.
"That depends," Melvin said. "You always like to try to give him a little bit of a soft landing, and then when you say that you end up bringing him in with the bases loaded and nobody out, but we'll see. It's going to have to be a feel type of thing. We wouldn't be bringing him up here if we didn't think he could contribute in a role that's fairly prominent. He gets his feet wet for the first time at the big league level, and we need an extra arm. It'll be good to see him and good to see him perform at a prominent level."
"It's awesome," Straily said. "He's a good friend, and he's definitely ready. He's going to come up here and hopefully not be too nervous and do his thing. He's a really good pitcher, obviously a first-round talent."
Throwing off his feet, Anderson makes progress
PITTSBURGH -- Lefty Brett Anderson took a step forward in his rehab from a right foot stress fracture Tuesday by throwing from 105 feet back in the Bay Area.
"That's definite progress," said manager Bob Melvin, before adding with a smile, "He's throwing off his feet instead of his knee."
There is no timetable on when Anderson will resume throwing off a mound, but Melvin said the team planned to discuss this upon returning home Thursday.
Should all continue to go well for the injury-plagued Anderson, the A's are hopeful he can return to the rotation as soon as August.
Health useful for Reddick's improved at-bats
PITTSBURGH -- There was more than one reason why Josh Reddick was promoted to the second spot of the lineup Tuesday, but his improved at-bats were, without question, part of the equation.
Manager Bob Melvin also wanted to provide his lineup a bit of flexibility come late-inning double-switch situations in a National League park.
Reddick entered the day having reached base safely via hit or walk in a career-high 16 straight games. In that time he batted .268, upping his season average to .222, with a .323 on-base percentage. His batting average sat at .189 a month ago.
"I'm getting more lucky I guess," Reddick said recently. "I'm not so much an unlucky hitter anymore. The hits are finding holes now, and when they're over the fence, they can't catch them."
Aside from luck, Reddick also has health on his side. That was not the case for parts of April and most of May, when he was dealing with a sprained right wrist. He did not hit the disabled list until May 8, ultimately returning May 31, but it was an issue well before then.
Since his return, he's batting .278 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 31 games. He hit .152 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 29 games before the injury.
"It was stupid of me to try to play through it, but that's the way I am, and I felt like I could play through it," Reddick said. "Trying to play through it a little too long, it was obviously affecting my swing. I couldn't pull the ball or hit it in general as I know I could. I'm glad we caught it early enough to where I can still help this team contribute. It would have been a little smarter to go right on the DL when it happened, and it'd be interesting to see where I was right now if I had, but we can't change that. All I can do is try to improve on the rest of the year.
"I'm hitting the ball hard a lot more and getting back to putting good swings on it and recognizing pitches."