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The Oakland Athletics’ leadoff hitter in their final home game against Seattle on Thursday afternoon was the man who recorded a three-up, three-down ninth inning against the Mariners on Wednesday night.

Sheldon Neuse, the A’s’ starting third baseman on Thursday, gave up some pitches to the bullpen in last night’s 9-0 loss.

Getting on the mound was not a strange experience for Neuse. In three seasons (2014-16) in Oklahoma, he made 29 relief appearances. His career numbers: 6-2, 1.60 ERA and seven saves in 39 ⅓ innings.

“I always expected to go back out” to the mound, Neuse said Thursday morning, “obviously not in that situation.

“It’s pretty easy to focus. Just throw it on the plate like I (did) before. I just can’t throw it that hard to not hurt myself.”

With his pitches clocking in from the mid-40s to the high-50s in mph terms, Neuse retired Adam Frazier on a popup, Cal Raleigh on a lineout and Abraham Toro on another popup. Neuse threw 12 pitches, seven strikes.

Sheldon Neuse (26) walks off the mound after pitching a perfect ninth inning as the Oakland Athletics play the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Sheldon Neuse (26) walks off the mound after pitching a perfect ninth inning as the Oakland Athletics play the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Carlos Ávila González / The Chronicle

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said “it’s never a good feeling when you’ve got a position guy coming out and getting on the mound.” Kotsay explained the move by noting that the A’s began a 16-day streak without a day off Tuesday and that he was looking to protect his bullpen.

Kotsay used Chad Pinder in the ninth inning of a 14-4 loss to Minnesota on May 18. Kotsay said that day that he was particularly nervous with Pinder on the mound, hoping Pinder wouldn’t get hurt.

Neuse’s shooting record gave Kotsay a relative sense of calm.

“Even though he pitched in college, I knew he wasn’t going to try to throw 85 mph,” Kotsay said.

Neuse described the difference between his time with the Sooners when he was actually practicing the fine art of throwing with what he did Wednesday night.

“You’re just throwing” the ball against the Mariners, Neuse said. “It’s totally different. Throw versus go out and just throw it up and let them hit. Just don’t hit me.

Saying he would relish the opportunity to get back on the mound again, Neuse expressed a wish if there is a next time he pitches.


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Reference-www.sfchronicle.com

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