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Pomeranz prepared for pivotal start in Houston

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HOUSTON -- Lefty Drew Pomeranz will return to the A's rotation for the first time since June 16 on Wednesday in a start against the Astros that could very well dictate where he pitches next.

Although a good performance doesn't guarantee Pomeranz sticks on the roster, it can only help his chances of being a prominent September contributor when rosters expand on Monday. Whether that's in the rotation or bullpen is unknown.

"We'll take it day to day on this one, see how [Pomeranz] pitches tomorrow," said manager Bob Melvin, "and then we'll make our decision accordingly."

"I know I'm pitching tomorrow and that I want to win tomorrow, and whatever happens from there is whatever happens," Pomeranz said. "It's not worth me thinking about it."

Pomeranz could potentially supplant Jason Hammel in the rotation at some point, though Hammel proved his worth in Tuesday's 4-2 loss with a one-run, seven-inning outing in Houston. Still, he has a 5.77 ERA in eight starts for the A's, who acquired his services with Jeff Samardzija in a July deal with the Cubs.

Their arrival prompted the A's to keep Pomeranz in Triple-A after his rehab from a broken right hand, which he sustained while punching a wooden chair, even though he had given them a 3.21 ERA in eight starts.

"We talk often about the 25-man roster and then maybe 30-plus guys that you really feel like are part of your team, and he's definitely one of those guys," Melvin said. "He's really been important to us, whether it was a starting role or in relief. He's done a nice job for us. Just because of the trades we made is the only reason he got pushed out."

Pomeranz kept pace with the River Cats and focused on pitching deeper into games, posting a 3.69 ERA in eight starts. It was 2.88 before his last outing, in which he allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings.

"I made a few bad pitches, walked a few guys and gave up some runs. It happens," said Pomeranz, fresh off a plane from Nashville, where the River Cats were playing. "I feel like I've been pitching pretty much the same. I feel good, same as I did before."

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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