Chris Bassitt throws bullpen and could pitch for A’s again this season

Chris Bassitt’s comeback is in the making. 

The A’s ace threw a 30-pitch bullpen Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum and will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip to Kansas City, where he’s scheduled to have another bullpen session Wednesday.

Bassitt is making a swift recovery from his scary head injury from a 100 mph comebacker on Aug. 17 against the Chicago White Sox. The A’s right-hander has been hanging around the team the past couple weeks since recovering from his Aug. 24 surgery. He has also been testing his peripheral vision by tossing around the football and doing pitchers’ fielding practice at the Coliseum.

If all holds to plan, A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Bassitt could throw some meaningful innings for the team down the stretch. It’s pretty remarkable that Bassitt is so eager to get back on the mound after such a traumatic injury.

The clock is ticking on the season, though, as the A’s have just 21 games left before the regular season concludes on Oct. 3 in Houston. Melvin said Bassitt needs to work up to a three-inning workload before he’d rejoin the A’s, which usually amounts to a 50- or 60-pitch bullpen.

Bassitt could be just two or three bullpen sessions away from being deemed game ready. Mapping out the next couple of weeks, I think Bassitt could be available beginning with the Houston Astros series that starts on Sept. 24, or the final week of the season against the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros.

Oakland’s rotation hasn’t been the same since Bassitt went down. Paul Blackburn has been knocked around in two starts since his stellar outing against the New York Yankees on Aug. 29. The All-Star Bassitt has a 3.22 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 154-to-35 K-to-BB ratio in 151 innings this season.

Even if Bassitt returns to the A’s in a long relief role instead of a starter, he would provide an instant boost to the bruised pitching staff. To say nothing of the immense emotional jolt Bassitt’s return would bring. Not only is he the team’s best pitcher but he’s developed into an outspoken leader as well.

For an injury that looked so bad and happened about three weeks ago, it’s crazy that we’re even talking about Bassitt’s comeback. Between this and Khris Davis’ return, 2021 would be a wild one for A’s feel good stories.

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