Sean Doolittle due back from disabled list Friday

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Some good news here for the struggling A’s …

Oakland manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday that closer Sean Doolittle, who has been sidelined since August 24 with a strained intercostal muscle, is on track to be activated from the disabled list Friday.

Doolittle threw 20 pitches with hitters standing in on Wednesday afternoon and felt no discomfort.

Eric O’Flaherty has been filling in at closer for the Athletics and blew a save Monday night in Chicago.

Doolittle has an excellent 2.28 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and 80/5 K/BB ratio in 55 1/3 innings this season.

The Athletics are currently eight games back of the first-place Angels in the American League West standings, but they’re clinging to a 1 1/2 game lead for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Justin Verlander named 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner

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Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.

Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.

During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).

2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.

Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.