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Oakland A’s place Bobby Wahl on DL; select Zach Neal

The Oakland A’s lost hard-throwing reliever Bobby Wahl to a right shoulder injury on Tuesday.

Zach Neal delivers the pitch. / Photo by Chris Lockard
Zach Neal returns to the big leagues after 24 appearances with the A's last season. / Photo by Chris Lockard

Oakland A’s reliever Bobby Wahl was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with a strained right shoulder. Wahl appeared in relief for the A’s on Sunday and on Tuesday, allowing two runs on three hits in three innings over those two outings. Wahl has a 4.70 ERA and an 8:4 K:BB in 7.2 innings for Oakland this season.

Wahl made his major-league debut on May 3 after a minor league career that included several injuries. The hard-throwing right-hander had his healthiest season to date in 2016, when he posted a 2.65 ERA and struck-out 65 in 54.1 innings for High-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. The A’s 2013 fifth-round pick entered this season as one of the A’s top relief prospects.

Taking Wahl’s place on the roster is right-hander Zach Neal, who returns to the big leagues after appearing in 24 games for Oakland last season. Neal had a 4.24 ERA in 70 innings for the A’s and he walked only six over that stretch. Neal was designated for assignment over the off-season but cleared waivers and remained in the A’s system. He fills the empty roster spot on the A’s 40-man roster.

Neal will give the A’s bullpen some length after starter Jesse Hahn left Tuesday night’s game in the third inning with a right triceps strain. The A’s used five relievers in Tuesday’s game, including Wahl. It isn’t clear whether Hahn will need to be placed on the disabled list.

Neal has been used in a hybrid role with Triple-A Nashville this season. In four starts and four long relief appearances, Neal has a 3.89 ERA and a 15:4 K:BB in 34.2 innings. He last threw on Saturday, a 3.1 inning relief appearance against the Sacramento River Cats. Neal has thrown at least three innings in every outing but one this season.

The A’s may be looking at several roster changes over the next day or two. In addition to Hahn, first baseman Yonder Alonso left Tuesday’s game early with an injury. Alonso was hit on the wrist by a pitch. X-rays were negative for fractures, but Alonso isn’t in the A’s Wednesday line-up. If he is expected to miss more than a day or two, the A’s could call on first baseman Matt Olson, who is batting .356 with six homers and 17 RBI over his last 10 games. If Hahn is out for an extended period of time, the A’s will likely choose between Jharel Cotton and Daniel Mengden for Hahn’s rotation spot. Both have pitched well for Nashville in their most recent starts and both are on the 40-man roster.

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