Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Sean Doolittle is headed to the disabled list with a shoulder strain. 

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Doolittle Headed to the Disabled List

Saturday, May 30

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Doolittle will go to the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. The A’s recalled Angel Castro to take Doolittle’s place.

Jimmy Durkin of the San Jose Mercury news reported A’s manager Bob Melvin said Doolittle faces at least two weeks of inactivity to reduce the inflammation in his shoulder.

Doolittle’s latest setback was explained by Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet California:

Doolittle felt pain in shoulder Wed night after pitching, then really bothered him throwing Fri. Different than before — back of shoulder. Doolittle got MRI this morning. No tear, just inflammation in shoulder blade and into shoulder capsule a bit.

Doolittle discussed the injury, via Stiglich:

John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group pointed out that Doolittle just returned to the bullpen before this latest setback:

Jane Lee of MLB.com acknowledged that Doolittle didn’t look like himself even playing catch recently:

While Doolittle only has the one appearance this season, he was a critical part of the Oakland bullpen in 2014. He finished with a 2.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched and was one reason why the Athletics reached the postseason as a wild card.

As of Saturday, Oakland is dead last in Major League Baseball in bullpen ERA, and Doolittle’s absence is a primary reason for the struggles. The hope is Castro can pick up some of the slack for the last-place team in the American League West, although he’s already allowed a home run in his three innings this season.

It is difficult to envision Oakland turning things around this season in a difficult AL West, even if there is plenty of time remaining on the 2015 schedule.

The bullpen has been a disaster, and the Doolittle news is deflating for a squad that was hoping his return would provide a serious boost for a group in dire need of it. Rather, it must put the pieces back together as the calendar flips to the dog days of summer, and there is little on-field evidence to suggest that is going to happen.

That is especially the case without Doolittle.

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