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Oakland A's pitching staff taking shape as Jesse Hahn heads to Nashville

The Oakland A's sent RHP Jesse Hahn to Triple-A on Tuesday. The move all but sets the A's Opening Day pitching staff.

The Oakland A's starting pitchers have struggled as a group this spring, and those struggles cost one projected member of the Opening Day roster his spot -- at least for now. The A's optioned RHP Jesse Hahn to Triple-A on Tuesday after Hahn struggled in a start on Monday. Hahn has an 11.15 ERA in 15.1 innings this spring. 

Hahn missed the final two months of last season with a right forearm strain, but he appeared to be healthy in camp. His velocity was in the 93-95 MPH range, but he was missing up frequently and was hit hard. He allowed 26 hits, including three homeruns, and he walked seven batters. Hahn will begin the season with Triple-A Nashville, but he will be watched closely by the A's. If Hahn gets off to a good start with the Sounds, he could make a quick return to Oakland. Hahn had a 3.35 ERA in 96.2 innings with the A's last season before the arm injury shut him down.

With Hahn heading to Nashville, lefty Felix Doubront will join the A's rotation. He entered camp as a likely long reliever, but pitched well enough to force his way into the starting rotation. Doubront has been a starter for most of his major-league career and has stated a preference for starting. He joined the A's midway through last season and had a 6.37 ERA in eight starts and a 3.86 ERA in three relief appearances. Doubront will team with Rich Hill as the two left-handers in the A's rotation.

Hill could be on a short leash in the A's rotation. He has had a very difficult camp, walking 12 in 7.2 innings in big league camp and several more in minor league starts. The A's appear to be giving the veteran the benefit of the doubt to start the year, but if he can't shore up his command, Hill could be in the bullpen before long. He signed a one-year free agent deal with the A's this off-season.

Now that Doubront is likely set for the rotation, the final two spots in the A's bullpen should go to right-handers Fernando Rodriguez and Ryan Dull. Both Rodriguez and Dull have had excellent camps, allowing only one run in 19.2 innings between the two of them. Rodriguez is out-of-options and would likely be claimed should the A's try to sneak him through waivers. Both Rodriguez and Dull spent time in the A's bullpen last season. Dull made his major-league debut in September and still has rookie eligibility heading into this season.

The A's still have some decisions to make about their final position player spots. With the A's likely to carry seven relievers, infielder Eric Sogard could be in danger of heading back to Triple-A. Jed Lowrie has seen time at shortstop in recent games and could be heading into the season as the back-up to Marcus Semien, as well as the A's primary second baseman. Chris Coghlan would get the starts at second when Lowrie is at short.

Below is a look at what the A's roster could look like on Opening Day, based on today's move.

Rotation (5)

  1. Sonny Gray
  2. Rich Hill
  3. Kendall Graveman
  4. Chris Bassitt
  5. Felix Doubront

Bullpen (7)

  1. Sean Doolittle (CL - LH)
  2. Ryan Madson (RH)
  3. John Axford (RH)
  4. Marc Rzepczynski (LH)
  5. Liam Hendriks (RH)
  6. Fernando Rodriguez (RH)
  7. Ryan Dull (RH)

Infield (5)

  1. Danny Valencia (3B - RHH)
  2. Marcus Semien (SS - RHH)
  3. Jed Lowrie (2B/SS - SH)
  4. Yonder Alonso (1B - LHH)
  5. Billy Butler (1B/DH - RHH)

Utility (2)

  1. Chris Coghlan (OF/2B - LHH)
  2. Mark Canha (OF/1B - RHH)

Outfield (4)

  1. Josh Reddick (RF - LHH)
  2. Billy Burns (CF - SH)
  3. Khris Davis (LF - RH)
  4. Coco Crisp (OF - SH)

Catchers (2)

  1. Stephen Vogt (LHH)
  2. Josh Phegley (RHH)

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