Breslow filling workhorse role in A's 'pen

Breslow filling workhorse role in A's 'pen

OAKLAND -- Much of Craig Breslow's year has been highlighted by off-the-field accomplishments, most recently as cover boy of this week's Sporting News for his nod as the smartest athlete in sports.

But inside the A's clubhouse, Breslow's Yale-educated mind isn't valued so much as his overall worth to a team that views him as "the one constant in the bullpen," according to hurler Brett Anderson.

"He's been phenomenal," Anderson said. "He's filled all kinds of roles it seems like, whether it is as a closer or to get a lefty out. Anything he's been asked to do, he's done it and done it well."

Breslow's workload has spanned 71 appearances, third-most among American League relievers. He's tallied 69 1/3 innings and is just one out away from matching his 2009 total. All the while, he's compiled a 3.12 ERA and has allowed just six of 32 (18.8 percent) of his inherited runners to score, which ranks second in the AL.

High-ranking numbers are great and all, but none would be tallied without health, something Breslow has been able to maintain throughout the season, give or take a couple of days due to a bruised forearm as a result of a line drive that came back at him.

"Breslow has been remarkably consistent all year," manager Bob Geren said. "If you look at the body of work he and guys like [Michael] Wuertz and [Andrew] Bailey did, they've all been outstanding. The difference is Breslow has been consistently healthy all year. He's been so valuable in that bullpen. All those guys have done a great job, but if you look at a combination of performance and availability, he's been the guy."

Breslow has never found himself on the disabled list, an even bigger accomplishment in Oakland, where the A's have sent 23 to the DL this year.

"There's something to be said for that, especially the way he's been used this year," Anderson said. "He's been one of the few that's maintained health throughout the year. It seems like every time we look down there, asking ourselves who is up, the answer's Breslow. He works hard, and it shows in his consistency and resiliency out on the mound."

"He's got a very resilient arm, a resilient body, and he's mentally tough," fellow reliever Brad Ziegler said. "He knows that he can go out and be successful at any time. That's something we've come to depend on him for. The players are counting on him to give us innings night after night because he can do it. You hope long-term it's not doing any damage to him, but I think for right now he's throwing the ball well.

"There's a couple of nights where he's been down there and unavailable, and he's thinking how much he wants to get out there and pitch. He just has that drive."