Chris Bassitt

Oakland Athletics starter Chris Bassitt holds a towel to his face as he is removed from the field by medical personnel after getting hit by a line drive from Chicago White Sox left fielder Brian Goodwin during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

OAKLAND — Chris Bassitt doesn't remember much about the last time he pitched in a game.

A 100 mph line drive by Brian Goodwin exploded off Bassitt's face, leaving the A's All-Star right-hander in a crumpled heap on the mound in a road game against the Chicago White Sox. There were bloody towels, distraught teammates, and the last thing anyone was thinking about was Bassitt pitching again in 2021.

Miraculously, Bassitt will take the mound again Thursday when the A's finish a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners. A's manager Bob Melvin gave Bassitt the word Tuesday that the decks had been cleared for his return.

Bassitt knows what you're thinking, and he'll have none of it.

"I know I'm kind of a messed up thinker, a messed up individual a little bit, but I knew I wasn't going to be worried about facing hitters," Bassitt said. "If it happens again, it happens again. I don't think about it too much, honestly. It's part of the game. Unfortunately, something happened to me, but it is what it is."

Bassitt underwent surgery Aug. 25 in Chicago for a facial fracture, which did not include the orbital bone in his left eye. It's been a series of doctors visits and examinations ever since.

"I've been kind of ready," Bassitt said. "Unfortunately, there were a lot of boxes that needed to be checked and we finally checked them all off."

James Kapreilian, who was the original starter Thursday, may now play a secondary role in that game depending on how deep into the game Bassitt can pitch. Melvin said the season is getting too late to consider a rehab start in the minors.

"Don't ask me how long. I don't know," Melvin said. "We'll see how it goes. Length is going to be an issue. Knowing him, it's going to be having to hold him back. Talking to our training staff, leading up to the game, we'll have a target, whether it's innings or pitches for him."

Melvin said he got on board with Bassitt's return after watching him Saturday in a simulated game in Anaheim.

"His stuff looked almost the same," Melvin said. "He had good command of his curveball, his cutter. He was hard on himself, like he normally is. That's kind of the first time you kind of realized that, 'OK, he's going to come back.' "

Including the night Bassitt was injured, the A's have gone 14-16 and gone from 2 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros and hopes of winning the AL West to instead hoping to rally late and get into a wild card game.

"It sucked watching the way we've been playing," Bassitt said. "It hasn't been fun, especially sitting there thinking I can really help the team and obviously not being allowed to. It's been a little bit of a torture chamber I've been in. I'm finally happy to be back and hopefully help the team win."

Bassitt, 12-4 with a 3.22 earned run average, said he feels "refreshed" but has no idea how long Melvin and the coaching staff will let him pitch.

"I'm going to go until BoMel says I'm not allowed to go," Bassitt said. "I'm not thinking of how many innings I can go. It's just a matter of going out there and giving our team the best chance to win. If it's two innings, it's two. If it's five, it's five. I don't know what they are going to let me throw. It's just a matter of me going out there."

Melvin thinks there will be an initial surge for everyone to see Bassitt on the mound again in a game, but that it will quickly dissipate.

"I think initially, it will be like, 'Wow,' and then after that it will be like regular Chris Bassitt doing his thing out there," Melvin said. "We've all kind of felt this from the time it happened to where we are right now. It will come full circle with him back on the mound. To me, it's kind of miraculous, but considering it's Chris Bassitt, not so much."

As far as line drives back through the box, Bassitt figures the odds are on his side.

"I've thrown hundreds of thousands of pitches in my day, and it's happened one time," Bassitt said. "If it happens again, I know the doctor to go to, I'll say that."

Feliz on board

The A's claimed right-hander Michael Feliz off waivers from the Boston Red Sox and optioned right-hander Miguel Romero to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Feliz, who has played for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh this season, threw a bullpen and Melvin said the A's will assess the best way to get him some action.

"We'll see where he's at," Melvin said. "He's a guy that every time he's been let go, another organization has picked him up, and late in the season that doesn't happen too often. He's got a big arm and I know the organization like what they've seen."

Lineup

The A's starting lineup Tuesday night against Seattle:

2B Josh Harrison

CF Starling Marte

1B Matt Olson

3B Matt Chapman

C Yan Gomes

RF Chad Pinder

LF Mark Canha

DH Khris Davis

SS Elvis Andrus

P Paul Blackburn

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