Athletics righty Daniel Mengden underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his elbow back in February, but the right-hander told Brodie Brazil of NBC Sports Bay Area over the weekend that he’s now at “about 95 percent” in his recovery process.
Notably, Mengden also revealed to Brazil that he had two other procedures over the offseason — both to address an undiagnosed intestinal issue that had plagued him late in the 2019 season. He’d dropped 25 pounds at one point and reported to camp a bit below his typical weight, not having quite built back up. It seems now that despite the trio of surgeries, he should be ready to go. The 27-year-old has been throwing all of his pitches in bullpen sessions.
With a shortened ramp-up to the season and expanded rosters, a stockpile of quality pitching depth will be paramount for any contending club. A healthy Mengden should prove important for the A’s in that regard. While he wasn’t expected to crack the rotation barring injuries elsewhere — Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Chris Bassitt are all ahead on the depth chart — Mengden has functioned primarily as a starter in the big leagues. He’ll make a nice multi-inning piece for the A’s and could potentially make some spot starts, depending on what scheduling tactics the league utilizes to shoehorn as many games as possible into a narrowed schedule.
Mengden certainly isn’t a household name, but he’s quietly been a solid member of the Oakland staff in recent years. Dating back to 2017, the mustachioed right-hander has racked up 218 1/3 innings of 4.08 ERA ball with 5.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.28 HR/9 and a 38.8 percent ground-ball rate. In a way, he’s the type of player who can find a silver lining amid the prolonged stoppage of play. In addition to the added recovery time, Mengden likely now has roster certainty that wasn’t present when players reported to camp. He’s out of minor league options, so under normal circumstances, he’d have had to win a spot in an already-deep Athletics bullpen or else be exposed to waivers.