A's embracing Anderson's versatility in 'pen

A's embracing Anderson's versatility in 'pen

A's embracing Anderson's versatility in 'pen

OAKLAND -- Oakland's Opening Day starter has transformed into a Swiss Army knife of sorts.

A's lefty Brett Anderson, who made five starts at the beginning of the season before going down with an injury, has resurfaced as a versatile reliever, giving the club not only another long-relief option, but a late-inning one as well. This has allowed them to rest overworked arms Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.

On Wednesday, Anderson threw three innings against the Rangers for the save. Two days prior, he tossed 1 1/3 innings vs. Texas, bridging the gap from the sixth to the eighth.

"As soon as you think you're settled into one role, the next day it'll change," said Anderson. "You just come to the park thinking you're going to pitch every day and go from there. Whenever they call me to throw, that's what I'm going to do. If it's long-relief or in the back end of the bullpen or starting, it doesn't matter."

"It's tough for him," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's the one guy that really doesn't know what his role is. He knows that if the opportunity comes up like yesterday, where we can stretch him out a little bit, we'll do that. He's also shown he can be a factor for us late in games for an inning. It makes it difficult for him to prepare, but it is what it is. He's a guy that might pitch in any particular role."

The results haven't been overwhelming -- Anderson has allowed five runs in 7 1/3 innings -- but Melvin remains encouraged.

"Maybe the numbers don't look as good as what his stuff is right now," he said. "His stuff looks good, and every time we've run him out there, it's looked good, whether it's in a long role or a short role."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.