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A's encouraged by Doolittle's rehab success

Closer appears to be in line to come off DL on Monday when eligible

A's encouraged by Doolittle's rehab success

OAKLAND -- Sean Doolittle continues to pass each test in his rehab process with flying colors. The A's closer, on the disabled list since Aug. 24 with a right intercostal strain, threw long toss on Wednesday and felt great, one day after playing catch from 90 feet.

"Tomorrow he'll be off, and we'll see where we are with him on Friday," manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday. "Encouraging to see he feels as good as he does."

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Doolittle is eligible to come off the DL as early as Monday, and given how well he's progressing, that appears to be a possibility.

The left-hander suffered the strain against the Angels on Aug. 23, feeling his side tighten up on the final two pitches of the game but pulling out his 20th save. He has thrived in the closer's role, converting all but three of his save opportunities and posting a mind-boggling 80 strikeouts to just five walks.

Eric O'Flaherty has taken over the ninth-inning duties in Doolittle's absence, appearing three times and earning a save in his lone chance.

Worth noting
• Catcher John Jaso (concussion) experienced a little fuzziness while taking batting practice on Tuesday, but he estimated Wednesday that he's at about 90 to 95 percent. Jaso will consult Dr. Micky Collins to determine his next step, and he could soon return to the A's in a strictly hitting role.

• Infielder Nick Punto received a shot recently in his injured right hamstring. After Thursday's off-day, he will attempt to run at full speed, which is his last hurdle to clear.

Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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