A’s closer Sean Doolittle throws first bullpen session

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A’s closer Sean Doolittle, who’s been shut down since January with a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, threw a 25-pitch bullpen session today.

Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Doolittle will throw another bullpen session Sunday, at which point he could be cleared to face live hitters. His return timetable remains mid-May at the earliest, giving Tyler Clippard a bit more time as the A’s closer.

A converted first baseman, Doolittle has been one of the best relievers in the league since debuting for the A’s in 2012 with a 2.97 ERA and 209/32 K/BB ratio in 179 innings.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.