OAKLAND -- The remarkable thing wasn't that Eric O'Flaherty struck out Curtis Granderson with as nasty a breaking pitch as you're every likely to see Tuesday.
It was that for the first time in a year and a half, he might be prepared to do it again Wednesday.
A's manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday morning that O'Flaherty, who spent the first half of the season on the disabled list as he recovered from Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his left elbow, is about ready to pitch in back-to-back games.
"We are pretty close to being able to use him in back-to-back days, which will be important,'' Melvin said, looking forward to the September stretch drive. "Whenever you bring a guy off an injury like that, you're basically rehabbing him at the big league level knowing that he can't pitch two days in a row.
"So we pick our spots for him, but as you've seen in here recently, he's pitched in more leveraged situations. He's a guy who get righties out, too, so I you have a couple or righties in between a couple of lefties that's kind of a job for him. And every time he goes out and has success like he did last night, it makes him feel that much more removed from the surgery and he's that much more like an everyday player. And he's used to pitching late in games.''
O'Flaherty seems ready for the back-to-back challenge if the 3-2 pitch to Granderson is any indication.
"That's the pitch I try to throw every time,'' O'Flaherty said with a laugh. "It always feels the same out of my hand. It just doesn't always go where you want it to like that.''
Or as reliever Dan Otero, who has the adjoining locker, said, "that was a filthy pitch.''
The manager said Norris was feeling better and might be available to pinch-hit or catch later in the game, as necessary.
Donaldson struck out three times Tuesday and has just two hits in his last 18 at-bats.
Melvin said that after having Donaldson play every game of the last road trip, he was looking to give him a couple of days off, although he wouldn't rule out having him play in the later innings Wednesday if needed.
Alberto Callaspo was the starter at third base, his 15th start there this season.