OAKLAND -- Tommy Milone became a victim of numbers Saturday in the wake of Oakland's blockbuster trade with the Cubs, getting optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the 25-man roster for right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
Milone threw six shutout innings against Toronto on Friday and has been fantastic since May 9, going 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA in 11 starts. Of Oakland's starters, only Scott Kazmir boasts a better ERA (2.59) over that span.
But a number of factors were working against Milone after the trade, including the Athletics' desire for bullpen depth after a 12-inning contest, coupled with the fact that Milone would not be available to pitch again for several days. Brad Mills, who will be replaced by Samardzija in the rotation on Sunday, gave the A's an eighth bullpen option Saturday.
Manager Bob Melvin struggled to find the right words to break the news to Milone.
"If you're in my position, what do you even say to a guy like that?" Melvin said. "He was a little bit shocked, and understandably so. But you haven't seen the last of Tommy Milone here."
"I feel terrible for him," said closer Sean Doolittle. "He's one of the most liked guys in the clubhouse. He has an unbelievable work ethic, and it was really tough when I saw him coming in here today cleaning out his locker."
Jason Hammel, also acquired in the deal with the Cubs, will likely take Milone's rotation spot for now and make his first start with the A's on Wednesday in San Francisco.
"This game is cruel sometimes," said catcher Stephen Vogt, who has made his share of trips between Triple-A and the Majors. "Tommy's earned his spot in the big leagues and I'm sure he'll be back soon."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.