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Chris Smith to be A’s oldest pitcher ever to make first big-league start

SEATTLE - At the age of 36, Chris Smith will get a spot start filling on Saturday - and in doing so will become the oldest A’s pitcher ever to make his first big-league start. Smith has made 63 big-league appearances as a reliever, including 13 with Oakland last season, but never has started a game in the majors. The previous oldest A’s pitcher to make his first big-league start was Joe Pate on May 6, 1926, against the St. Louis Brown at the age of 33 years, 334 days, according to A’s baseball information manager Mike Selleck. “Chris doesn’t have mind-blowing stuff, but he executes better than most,” said catcher Bruce Maxwell. “He’s been throwing the ball well,” said catcher Ryan Lavarnway, just up from Nashville. Infielder Franklin Barreto, who’d been expected to be demoted Thursday when Marcus Semien came off the DL, will be sent out Saturday. Jharel Cotton became the seventh A’s starter to land on the DL - the entire regular rotation has been on the DL at one point or another - but the rookie probably will miss just one start as he deals with a split callus. Melvin said Cotton is expected to be able to pitch one of the first five games after the All-Star break. Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery) worked an inning with Class-A Stockton on Thursday, throwing 11 pitches, eight strikes, and struck out two, including Mike Trout. Opening Day starter Kendall Graveman (shoulder) was scheduled to throw two sets of 20 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday in Arizona and reliever Ryan Dull, who is returning from a right knee strain, will throw live batting practice Friday in Arizona. Infielder Chad Pinder (hamstring) is hitting in the cage and is also doing some running, and reliever Bobby Wahl (shoulder) was scheduled for a flat-ground session Thursday. Starter Andrew Triggs was placed on the 60-day DL; he said last week he might require season-ending surgery to repair his torn hip labrum. Nick Paparesta, who is in his seventh season as Oakland’s head trainer, was named the American League All-Star team’s trainer for Tuesday’s game in Miami.

Article by By Susan Slusser (c) Top Sports Stories RSS Feed - Read full story here.