OAKLAND -- It's been a tale of two seasons for Ryan Buchter, and we're only a third of the way through.
Between March 20 and April 21, the A's reliever allowed six earned runs, 12 hits, and seven walks in 7 2/3 innings. That translates to a 7.04 ERA and 2.48 WHIP.
On April 22, Buchter was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. A week later, he returned to the A's a new pitcher. Since April 29, the 32-year-old left-hander has pitched 9 2/3 innings, surrendering just one run, three hits, and five walks for a 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.
"I felt like I was throwing the ball better right before I got sent down and I just kind of picked up where I left off when I came back," Buchter told NBC Sports California.
A's manager Bob Melvin has certainly taken notice of Buchter's improvements.
"His velocity is better, it seems like," Melvin said. "He's got more conviction with what he's doing out there. I think, sometimes during the course of a season, you go through a tough period and you've got to find your way out of it."
As Melvin noted, Buchter's velocity is up. When he was sent down to Triple-A, his fastball was living between 92 and 93 mph. Since his return, it's been up around 94 to 95.
"He's throwing hard, he's locating a lot better, he's elevating as he does, and getting big outs when we need it," Melvin said. "He's doing exactly what we thought after last year."
That's because Buchter was phenomenal last season, going 6-0 with a 2.75 ERA in 54 appearances. That experience has helped him stay positive through his early struggles this year.
"I think that's the key in baseball," Buchter said. "It's taking your lumps and learning from it and being able to rebound and still trust yourself and have confidence. I think it's pretty hard to find a successful baseball player that's not confident in himself. When your confidence is down, you're going to struggle."
Right now, Buchter's confidence is sky-high, and the A's hope it stays that way.