OAKLAND -- After struggling again in his second stint with Oakland this season, right-handed pitcher Graham Godfrey was optioned back to Triple-A on Sunday, with fellow right-hander Andrew Carignan recalled from Sacramento to take his place.
Last season, Godfrey recorded a 3.96 ERA for the A's in five appearances, four of them starts. But it's been a different story in 2012. He allowed nine earned runs in 16 innings in the three starts he made in April in his first stint with the club, and wasn't much better after being called up again earlier this week.
Starting in place of injured right-hander Brandon McCarthy, Godfrey, who was dealing with a sore middle finger on his pitching hand, lasted just three innings against the Angels in a start on Tuesday, and was hit hard in relief against the Yankees on Saturday. The 27-year-old has a 1.21 ERA in 29 2/3 innings for Sacramento, but those numbers haven't translated to the Major League level.
"You just need to take the next step, and a lot of times that's the confidence level at the big leagues," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "And there were times where he pitched really well for us last year, so it's not like he hasn't had some success here. He just hasn't been able to sustain it. Part of it is we've kind of moved him in and out of roles to an extent, and that can be difficult, too, but at the big leagues, that's the way it is. It's performance-based."
Another factor in the decision to send down Godfrey was the desire to have a fresh arm in the bullpen, which Oakland gets with Carignan, who hasn't pitched since Tuesday. Left-hander Travis Blackley will get the start on Monday in Minnesota, but Blackley, though a starter most of his career, has pitched exclusively in relief in the Majors this season, and hasn't stretched his arm all the way out.
Knowing that, Melvin wanted another arm in the bullpen since he said he expects Blackley to only throw 80-90 pitches against the Twins, depending on how well he does.
Carignan has allowed four earned runs in nine relief appearances with Sacramento this season, good for a 2.70 ERA. This is his third stint with Oakland this season. The 25-year-old has allowed five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work for the A's.