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Geren says Devine deserving of award

Geren says Devine deserving of look

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ARLINGTON -- A's reliever Joey Devine might not get much attention when it comes time for voters to select the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year. It's expected that Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox, Evan Longoria of the Rays and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox, all everyday players, will take home that hardware.

One of Devine's fellow relievers, in fact, will probably get more attention from the ROY voters. Brad Ziegler's all-time record of 39 consecutive scoreless innings to start his career will be tough to ignore.

None of that stopped A's manager Bob Geren, when prompted, from stumping on Devine's behalf a tad Tuesday.

"It's hard to compare a pitcher to a position player, but [Devine] is a viable candidate," Geren said before the second game of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark. "A legitimate candidate, for sure. I mean, look at his numbers."

If Devine maintains the 0.60 ERA he brought into Tuesday's game, he'll join Ziegler in the record books. The lowest single-season ERA in history among relievers with a minimum of 40 innings pitched is currently the property of Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, who posted a 0.61 with Oakland in 1990.

Devine, a 25-year-old righty acquired in the offseason deal that sent Mark Kotsay to the Braves, started this season at Triple-A Sacramento and was called up to Oakland on April 10.

He had an ERA of 1.38 in 18 appearances before being placed on the 15-day disabled list May 30 with inflammation in his right elbow, and on Monday he made his 23rd consecutive appearance without allowing a run since he came off the DL on Aug. 2.

"He's been about as close to perfect as you can get since he came back," Geren said.

Earlier this month, Angels manager Mike Scioscia expressed similar admiration.

"[Ziegler] obviously has been really, really good for them, but this Devine kid is something else," Scioscia said. "He throws hard, he moves it around and he puts it where he wants it. Looks like he's got a big future for them."

Geren said Devine's status as a setup man might cost him some notoriety around the league, explaining that pitchers who aren't starters or closers have a hard time moving the needle when it comes to national awards.

"But if anyone who isn't a closer or a starter deserves a look, it's Joey," Geren said. "He's having an incredible year."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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