Newly acquired Rice arrives to bolster 'pen

Newly acquired Rice arrives to bolster 'pen

CLEVELAND -- Less than 24 hours after being acquired, reliever Jason Rice was placed on the A's lineup card for Thursday's series finale in Cleveland after the club was forced to utilize every arm of its bullpen in Wednesday's 16-inning loss.

Rice, acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for Conor Jackson, was coming from Pawtucket, R.I., home of Boston's Triple-A team, and was expected to land just 20 minutes before game time. After getting to Pawtucket around 5 a.m. from Rochester, N.Y., Rice was at the airport in Providence, R.I., by 7 a.m. and arrived at Progressive Field in the second inning.

At that point, the A's officially placed him on the active roster.

"Hectic," Rice said of his day. "We were coming back on a bus when I heard the news. I still don't believe it. I feel like I'm in a dream right now. I think it's going to be unreal until I can touch the rubber, but I'm glad to be here, blessed to be here. I want to go out and compete and just do what I've been doing."

Originally an 11th-round Draft pick by the White Sox in 2005, Rice was 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA and four saves in 44 appearances with Pawtucket, tallying 89 strikeouts through 85 1/3 innings.

Manager Bob Melvin thought Rice would be available, since his last appearance -- spanning 1 1/3 innings -- came two days ago. But the A's skipper also wanted Rice to get acclimated in the A's bullpen before throwing him into the fire, a plan that went through thanks to Craig Breslow's two scoreless innings of relief in Thursday's 7-0 win over the Indians.

The lone pitcher not available for Thursday's game was Josh Outman, who used 31 pitches while taking the loss Wednesday.

"You look at the innings, and it would suggest some guys wouldn't be available, but we did limit most of the guys and what they did," Melvin said. "You have some games like this over the course of the season, and guys have to step up and be available."

Should the A's have needed a pitcher after Outman, Melvin said he would have considered position players Cliff Pennington and Ryan Sweeney to take to the mound.