‘Opener' Liam Hendriks, A's Agree to One-year, $2.15M Contract

The A's have avoided arbitration with another relief pitcher, agreeing to a one-year, $2.15 million contract with right-hander Liam Hendriks, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Earlier Friday, the A's locked up Ryan Dull on a one-year contract.

Hendriks, 29, went 0-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 25 appearances last season, but he was much more effective following his September call-up from Triple-A. The Australia native allowed just two runs in 13 innings for an ERA of 1.38.

Hendriks was forced to miss almost two months last season following surgery to remove a cyst from his right hip. He was designated for assignment in June with an ERA of 7.36, ending up in Triple-A Nashville.

But Hendriks took the demotion in stride, continuing to work hard on his recovery. He significantly increased his velocity, with his fastball living around 96 mph by September.

Of course, Hendriks also was the centerpiece of Oakland's experimentation with an "opener." He opened eight games in the final month of the season without allowing a single run in the first inning. His AL Wild Card Game "start" didn't go quite as well, as he allowed a two-run homer to the Yankees' Aaron Judge in the bottom of the first inning.

Hendriks' return adds depth and versatility to an already strong Oakland bullpen. He figures to be used primarily in a setup role for All-Star closer Blake Treinen, but he potentially could see some more "opening" opportunities throughout the season.

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