DETROIT -- The A's opening day starter will, for now, be working out of the bullpen.
"I don't know if I'll need a Mohawk or a mustache; I can't do them all," the bearded Brett Anderson said Wednesday after the club announced he was being activated from the 60-day disabled list.
A's starters mostly have beards and the relievers show pseudo-Mohawks in addition to whatever facial hair they sport. "It'll be weird (but) there hasn't been any hazing yet," Anderson said of his new relief role.
The A's had hoped Anderson would become a mid-August addition to the rotation, as was the case last year. But after missing four months with a right ankle sprain, then a stress fracture of his right foot, the timing didn't work.
Anderson will replace lefty starter Tommy Milone, who has been sent to the minors.
Manager Bob Melvin said that while he plans on using Anderson as he would any other newcomer to the bullpen, he's looking for a spot to stretch him out past the 64 pitches he maxed out at during his injury rehabilitation assignment.
"That's the goal," Anderson said, "but if it doesn't happen, so be it. (Having a chance to pitch on any given day) makes it exciting. You get the competitive adrenalin rush going more often."
Anderson, who was 1-5 with a 6.21 ERA in April, has thrown only one of his 74 career games in relief. That happed to be his last game on April 29, when he pitched 5ï»¿1/3 innings of one-run relief. He went on the disabled list after that with the sprain, and while he was rehabbing from that injury he suffered the stress fracture.
"I never thought it would take this long," Anderson said. "I'm excited to be back with the club and pitch in any role, help the ball club in any chance I get in the playoff race."
Milone gave up three run (two earned) in the first inning Tuesday, then threw four shutout innings in the rain in Detroit and got credit for the 6-3 win when the game was called with the A's batting in the top of the sixth.
"I kind of had an idea this might happen when they wanted to make a move with Bartolo (Colon) or Brett," said Milone, who is 10-9 with a 4.28 ERA. "They assured me it wasn't performance-based but was just a numbers thing."
When he returns, Milone almost certainly will be asked to work out of the bullpen.
"If they need me in the pen," he said, "I'll be happy to do it.''
It may be that Wednesday starter Dan Straily will be the odd man out in much the same way Milone was. He is winless in his last seven starts and has not made it through five innings in four of his last six starts.
The other option would be Evan Scribner, who has already made four moves between Triple-A and the big leagues this year.
In either case, the odd man out could be sent down and be back on Tuesday.
"There was no question that we wanted him back," Melvin said. "That was the hope all along."
Neshek was sent down after throwing 44 pitches on Sunday in Baltimore, leaving the A's needing another man in the bullpen.