Bailey ready for A's debut vs. Mariners

Field Level Media

Homer Bailey knows what you're thinking.

A baseball player named Homer must be known for prodigious home runs, right?

"Just my dumb luck I became a pitcher," the right-hander told the San Francisco Chronicle on his first day with the Oakland Athletics after being acquired in a trade with Kansas City on Sunday. The Royals received infield prospect Kevin Merrell.

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Bailey (7-6, 4.80 ERA) is scheduled to make his A's debut on Wednesday afternoon against the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the acquisition of Bailey is about more than just getting another starting pitcher for his club, which is tied for the American League's second and final wild-card position.

"The players feel these things. They want to feel like the front office is going out to make us better, and typically they do that," Melvin said. "It doesn't mean we're done, but it's nice to get someone in the rotation we feel makes us better."

Bailey, who spent his first 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before signing a one-year deal with the Royals in the offseason, struggled through the first month and a half of the season but is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA and 37 strikeouts over his past eight starts.

That stretch includes a 9-0 victory at Seattle on June 18 in which he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out six. He is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners, both this season.

Bailey hasn't pitched since July 4. He was on his way to the mound Sunday when Royals manager Ned Yost told him he'd been traded.

"I was just trying to do whatever I could to stay sharp with as little throwing as I've done," Bailey told the Chronicle.

Bailey arrived in Oakland early Tuesday afternoon and immediately headed to the ballpark.

His first impression?

"I didn't realize the shoes were this white," Bailey said with a laugh. "I just landed. I haven't really gotten to take in a whole lot other than trying to get equipment and all that together."

The Mariners are set to use a reliever as an opener on Wednesday before turning the ball over to left-hander Tommy Milone (1-3, 3.40 ERA). Milone pitched 2 1/3 innings of unscheduled scoreless relief with five strikeouts last Friday in a 13-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels -- a game in which the Mariners were no-hit.

Milone has pitched in relief six times this year, going 0-1 with a 2.97 ERA, three walks and 24 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in two career appearances, both starts, against Oakland, which is one of his five former major league teams.

The A's won the series opener 9-2 Tuesday night as Matt Chapman went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. Matt Olson also homered for Oakland.

The Mariners' offense came from catcher Omar Narvaez, who hit two solo homers.

The only other bright spot for Seattle was the return of right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala, who was making his season debut after rupturing his right Achilles tendon last August against the Texas Rangers.

Tuivailala allowed two runs in the eighth inning Tuesday but received praise from manager Scott Servais.

"It was great to see him back. It's a long road to come back from an injury like that," Servais said. "I thought he had good life on the ball."

--Field Level Media

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