Understanding just how important he is to the team, the A's decided to waste no time in bringing back right-hander Bartolo Colon after his 50-game performance-enhancing-drug suspension.
He'll get the start in the middle of a three-game set with the Astros on Saturday in Houston, which is the first day Colon is eligible to return from the ban after testing positive for testosterone last season.
"You want to get him started sooner than later," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We would've had to find another place for him to go pitch, and we just want to get him in there. We had targeted this all along."
Marking his first start in the Majors since Aug. 18, Colon joins a young rotation of Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin -- all 26-years-old or young. A 14-year veteran, Colon will turn 40 in May.
"The velocity's still there, his stuff all looks the same," Melvin said. "He's the type of guy that once the season gets going, he's one of the few guys you know that what you see in spring is what you get.
"A veteran presence within the rotation, we don't worry about him a whole lot."
On quite a roll before he was suspended, Colon gathered 10 wins and a 3.43 ERA in 2012. In three starts during Spring Training, Colon issued just one walk in 20 innings and struck out a team high 22 batters, which tied him for ninth in the Cactus League.
Colon could find that type of success in Saturday's game against the Astros, who have struck out 56 times in their first four games, which is a Major League record to start the season.
"We actually just move forward. These games are behind us. These guys understand," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They go and look at their video after the game. [Hitting coach] John Mallee and Dan Radison, the assistant hitting coach, they break down the video. These guys are well aware of the things they can control that will help them as far as their at-bats go, and we're completely confident they'll make those necessary adjustments."
The Astros will have ace Bud Norris on the hill, who is already looking for his second win of the season.
Norris will face the A's for the first time in his career after beating the Rangers on Opening Night. The right-hander allowed just two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings on Sunday.
A's: Moss stays in Bay Area with wife
As A's first baseman Brandon Moss awaits the birth of his second child back in the Bay Area, the club opted to bring along Shane Peterson to Houston in the event that Moss is added to the paternity leave list.
Manager Bob Melvin said Moss could potentially return to the team before the birth, should the process take longer than expected, and go back to be with his wife, Allison, when she does deliver the baby.
• The A's acquired catcher Stephen Vogt from the Rays on Friday for a player to be named later or cash considerations, and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. To make room on the 40-man roster for Vogt, Oakland designated right-hander Dan Otero -- claimed off waivers a week ago -- for assignment.
Astros: Gonzalez designated to make room for Blackley
The Astros designated right-hander Edgar Gonzalez for assignment on Friday to clear room for newly-acquired left-hander Travis Blackley.
Blackley, who was acquired from the Athletics in exchange for Minor League outfielder Jake Goebbert on Thursday, was with the Astros for Friday's series-opener against his former team and wore No. 54.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday that Blackley would be used as a left-handed long-relief option out of the bullpen.
• The Astros announced on Friday that right-hander Alex White would have Tommy John surgery, costing him the 2013 season.
• Coco Crisp got his first leadoff home run of the year in Friday's game against the Astros. It marked his fourth hit of the season and his second extra-base hit.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.