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O'Flaherty getting closer to rehab assignment

OAKLAND -- A's reliever Eric O'Flaherty continues to thrive in his rehab from Tommy John surgery, on Tuesday throwing to hitters and working in his breaking balls for the first time since last year's procedure.

O'Flaherty threw 25 pitches at the Coliseum, and the plan is for him to throw to hitters again -- two innings' worth -- on Sunday.

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Barring any setbacks, the lefty is likely nearing a rehab assignment, which would put him just weeks away from a potential return to big league action.

The A's signed O'Flaherty to a two-year, $7 million deal in the offseason and initially didn't anticipate his return until July.

The lefty compiled a 1.45 ERA in 161 appearances over the previous three seasons, which is the lowest mark among Major League relievers with 125 or more innings pitched over that span.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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