OAKLAND -- Leave it to Travis Blackley to find a positive in being moved back to the bullpen. "I get to pitch more often anyway now," he said, smiling. The A's left-hander, who began his stint with the club in the bullpen, has returned to the familiar role to accommodate the addition of righty Dan Straily, who is slated to make his much-anticipated big league debut on Friday.
Blackley will serve in a long-relief role for an already stacked bullpen that entered the day with an American League-best 2.82 ERA. This coming on the heels of a stellar stretch as a starter, with Blackley going 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA and 38 strikeouts next to just 15 walks in 59 2/3 innings spanning 10 starts. "To fit somebody in, you sometimes have to do something that's a bit uncomfortable, and with everybody pitching well, somebody has to wear it and go to the bullpen, and Travis was great about it," manager Bob Melvin said. "We have a lot of faith in what he's doing for us now." "I just enjoy being a part of this team," Blackley said. "You look at this clubhouse, you see it -- it's just a good environment to be in. If it means I have to go to the 'pen, there's no worries, man. I love pitching, no matter where it is. "[Melvin] said I had done everything they asked and more and were very happy with what I've done, that this didn't reflect the way I'd been pitching." Blackley finds comfort in knowing he'll likely now only have to face a team one time through the order, which allows him to immediately show each of his four pitches and let his fastball go, making his offspeed repertoire that much better. In turn, he recognizes the talent Straily lends to the organization. "It doesn't seem like there's been a level yet that he hasn't been able to hold down," Blackley said. "Obviously this is the big leagues, a little bit different, but by the sounds of how things have gone down there, this shouldn't be too much of an issue."