Abad off to strong start in Oakland bullpen

Abad off to strong start in Oakland bullpen

OAKLAND -- Of all the talented arms in Oakland's bullpen, none has gotten off to a better start that Fernando Abad.

The hard-throwing lefty had made nine scoreless appearances entering Wednesday, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out 10 across nine innings of work. The 28-year-old lefty was one of just seven pitchers in the Majors with at least nine innings pitched and no runs allowed.

With Sean Doolittle unavailable on Tuesday, Abad stepped in with one out in the eighth inning and retired Prince Fielder and Luis Sardinas in order.

"His stuff's good enough to get through some righties, too," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's kind of a luxury to have when Doolittle's down for a day, to be able to have an Abad that's going to pitch either the seventh or eighth inning for you."

Oakland acquired Abad in November in a low-profile swap with Washington for Minor League infielder John Wooten. Abad has shown great command of his heavy fastball while mixing it up with an effective curveball and changeup.

When asked if Abad would be considered for a potential save situation if the matchup is right, Melvin wouldn't directly address the southpaw, saying he will evaluate the closer situation on a game-by-game basis.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.