Devine sets mark for 40 innings or less

Devine sets mark for 40 innings or less

SEATTLE -- Joey Devine admittedly is not a stat guy. But it's clear he's a people person.

The A's right-handed reliever, who turned 25 on Sept. 19, worked one inning Sunday in the A's season-ending 4-3 loss to Seattle, escaping without allowing a run. That's what he did all season. He allowed only three runs in 45 2/3 innings.

Devine finished the season with a 6-1 record and a 0.59 ERA. That's the lowest single-season ERA in Major League history (since ERA began being recorded in 1912) for a pitcher with a minimum of 40 innings. He finished just short of qualifying for an official recognized record, because a pitcher must throw at least 50 innings.

"It would have been nicer if we'd had won the ballgame," said Devine, who came to Oakland in the Mark Kotsay trade over the winter. "I don't even know the significance of 0.59. I've never really been a stat guy. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization."

Then Devine was told that the pitcher he moved ahead of in the A's record books is Dennis Eckersley, who had a 0.61 ERA in 73 1/3 innings as Oakland's closer in 1990. That's got him lighted up.

"Now that's an honor to be mentioned around his name," he said. "I'd like to meet him one day. He had the mind of a bulldog. He wasn't going to give in to anybody. I love that about him."

Devine likes to think he has the same attitude as Eckersley.

"My mindset is to come in the ballgame, pound the strike zone and let the defense make plays -- get three outs as quickly as possible," he said. "I don't give in and know they have to beat me when I'm out there on the mound."

Devine began the season with Triple-A Sacramento but was recalled April 10. He had a 1.23 ERA in 18 appearances before being placed on the DL with right elbow inflammation. Since coming off the DL on Aug. 2, he had not allowed an earned run for 24 innings.

"He's got a great arm. That slider. He's a great competitor," A's manager Bob Geren said. "What a season he had. He's a very special pitcher. He's another one of these good young pitchers that we've acquired. He's there right now doing it and we've got more on the way."

Some of the best are in the A's bullpen. Devine works alongside Brad Ziegler, who finished with a 1.06 ERA in 47 appearances, lowest among AL relievers. It's the second lowest in A's history, since 1913. The club also has erstwhile closer Huston Street, who is just 25, the 2005 AL Rookie of the Year who already has collected 94 big league saves.

"I'm thankful to be able to pitch and wear a big league uniform," said Devine, when asked where he might fit in next season. "I love being a closer. I did it in college and did it in the Minor Leagues. Whatever organization has plans for Joey Devine, I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.