Coming into the 2011 baseball season the Oakland Athletics were one of the favorites to win what could be a tight American League West. Of course, in a 162 game season there are going to be some forks in the road. Injuries have played out in spades this season for the A's. Taking down 3 opening day starters, one who started the season in AAA, our closer, and a long relief man who hasn't seen the field this season (figures.)

But now all these pitchers are either back and playing great, or doing rehab assignments for the Sacramento River Cats. The question is who are you going to send down and why? It will be a question for Bob Melvin when Rich Harden, Tyson Ross (the Boss), and Brandon McCarthy all come back into the Oakland A's rotation. 

Unlike most returns from injury, it's going to be harder than it usually is. The reason you ask... Three of the A's current 5-man rotation are playing like they dont want to go back to Sacramento. It will be a tough go for Melvin but I believe he will push all the right buttons.

Rich Harden is going to be in the bullpen. That most A's fans know for sure knowing his history of injuries during his first stint the Green and Gold (2003-2008). I believe the best course of action is to make Harden a long reliever seeming the A's technically dont have one. He allowed three runs on three hits while fanning six in 4 2/3 innings on Saturday.

Tyson Ross pitched well before an oblique took him to the DL after 7 pitches on May 17th against Minnesota. Ross was 3-3 with an ERA of 2.75. Being a victim of recieving no runs in 2 of those 3 losses. He will make his first rehab start Thursday night against Tuscon.

Brandon McCarthy pitched 3 innings of a simulated game last Saturday. He is schedueled to make a rehab start on Tuesday. He too has been fallen victim to low run support going 1-4 with a 3.39 ERA.

The A's have gotten fabulous outtings out of Josh Outman, Graham Godfrey, and Guillermo Moscoso. Moscoso is 2-3 with an ERA of 2.68 and has been the most impressive out of the bunch. Outman is 3-2 with an ERA of 3.10, while Godfrey is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA.

I would love to see Moscoso and Outman stay in Oakland. Godfrey pitched an awesome game against the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series last Friday, but gave up 9 combine runs in two starts against the White Sox and Mets. After starting the season in Double-A Midland, and how he has pitched here, I dont see him going back to Midland but do feel more work is necessary.

Who else should go down? I Brian Fuentes needs a stint in Sacramento to get his confidence back to 100%. Let him pitch pressure situations in Sacramento to boost that confidence. He is alot better then the 1-8 record says.

As for a third pitcher... lets wait until our pitching staff is fully healthy and back in Green and Gold. It's a crap-shoot call to make as all of our pitchers have been absolute beast this season! We will find out in a few weeks what will happen to our staff and we will have a better idea by the All-Star Break what kind of team we will see for the rest of the run. It will be very interesting indeed.