MINNEAPOLIS -- With an eye on their maxed-out bullpen and an original schedule that had them playing 33 games in 34 days from Aug. 12 to Sept. 15, the A's have agreed to play a doubleheader in Baltimore in early September in exchange for an extra day off.
The day-night twinbill will be played on Saturday, Sept. 6 to close out a three-game set that was supposed to wrap the following day. Now the A's and O's will have Sunday off, and it'll mark the first time Oakland hasn't played on a regular-season Sunday since their Sept. 17, 2000, game at Tampa Bay was postponed because of Hurricane Gordon.
A's manager Bob Geren said it'll be a welcome respite; his club's only scheduled off-day during the aforementioned stretch was Sept. 1. The new schedule will give Oakland three days off in the first 15 days of the season's final month.
"That was going to be right in the middle of a time we were playing a lot of games in a row, so it'll be nice," Geren said.
He added that the bullpen stress of having to play two games in one day will be mitigated by two factors: The A's can expand their rosters on Sept. 1, and rehabbing relievers Keith Foulke and Andrew Brown should be ready to come off the disabled list before the doubleheader.
Both right-handers are recovering from shoulder injuries. Geren said Foulke was expected to start a throwing program Monday in Phoenix, and Brown threw off a mound Sunday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list Aug. 1. Foulke, who hasn't pitched for Oakland since July 2, posted a 16.62 ERA (eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings) in two rehab outings for Triple-A Sacramento in early August before being shut down again Aug. 9.
"The good thing about it is that it is in September," Geren said of the doubleheader. "We should be OK in the bullpen by then."
Asked if he had any idea how many players the A's might call up when the rosters expand, Geren suggested that the bulk of them will be pitchers.
"We haven't talked specifics about it, but obviously pitchers will be the No. 1 thing," he said. "Position-player-wise, we're pretty set right now."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.