OAKLAND -- An injured Jerry Blevins gives the A's just one lefty in a rather thin bullpen, where Craig Breslow will likely represent the only southpaw available for the Rangers series beginning Thursday.
Breslow was not available for Wednesday's contest having pitched in each of the club's last three games, but he'll be expected to carry closer duties for the four-game set with Texas with both Blevins and Michael Wuertz being unavailable.
Blevins is feeling better, according to manager Bob Geren, but has yet to resume throwing because of a strained left shoulder. Wuertz, meanwhile, is battling a nagging sore right thumb and, thus, has been deemed day to day. The A's other top reliever, Brad Ziegler, endured 1 2/3 innings of work (24 pitches) while taking a 4-3 loss Wednesday.
Breslow, who recorded just one save in four seasons prior to this year, has a career-high three saves this season as a result of the injury to Andrew Bailey, who is slated to have his sore right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Thursday.
Despite Bailey's glaring absence in what could be a pivotal series for the A's, Geren knows he must handle the left-handed Breslow carefully, so rather than simply selecting relievers based on left-handed and right-handed situations, he'll "use different criteria," including low-strike and low-walk history.
Breslow is currently tied for second among American League relievers with 71 appearances and is also tied for fourth in innings pitched with 69 1/3, which marks just one-third of an inning less than his 2009 total. Along the way, he's compiled a career-high 67 strikeouts, which ties him with Bob Owchinko (1982) for the second-best total by a left-handed reliever in Oakland history.