OAKLAND -- When the Athletics sent pitcher Pedro Figueroa to Triple-A Sacramento to open the season, it was for a specific reason.
The A's are looking to convert Figueroa back into a starter. He was sent to the bullpen after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010.
Figueroa had a great year as a reliever last season, sporting a 2.62 ERA in 32 appearances. He also appeared in 19 games with the A's.
"He pitched an inning in a game and then went to the bullpen to throw more pitches," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We want to stretch him out to throw more innings as a starter for us."
Figueroa was signed as a starting pitcher in 2003. Last year was the only season he spent in the bullpen.
"He's a talented kid," Melvin said. "I have no doubt he'll be instrumental for us this year."
Blackley traded to Astros for outfielder Goebbert
OAKLAND -- Travis Blackley, who spent most of his down time in the stands at The Coliseum, was traded to the Houston Astros by the Athletics for Minor League outfielder Jake Goebbert following Thursday's 8-2 win over the Mariners.
The A's and Astros open their series Friday night in Houston.
Blackley went 1-1 with a 14.21 ERA in seven games, including two starts, for the A's this spring before he was designated for assignment last Friday.
He allowed 27 hits in 12 2/3 innings for a .450 opponents batting average. Blackley was claimed off waivers from San Francisco last year on May 15 and went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 games, 15 starts, with the A's.
He is 7-7 with a 5.37 ERA in 36 career Major League appearances, including 23 starts.
Goebbert spent most of the 2012 season at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he hit .304 with 23 doubles, six triples, nine home runs and 53 RBIs in 114 games.
He also walked 55 times on his way to a .399 on-base percentage. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter also hit .133 in 16 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Goebbert is a .285 career hitter with 31 home runs and 237 RBIs in 456 games over four seasons in the Minors.
Lowrie makes himself at home with big game
OAKLAND -- Jed Lowrie officially joined the Oakland Athletics Wednesday night.
Lowrie, of course, has been with the A's since being acquired in a trade with the Houston Astros during the offseason and enjoyed a productive spring.
Wednesday's performance, said A's manager Bob Melvin, fully endured him to his latest set of teammates.
"To break out and have a night like he had, he makes himself comfortable with the team," Melvin said. "It was a big pickup for us."
Lowrie doubled twice, hit a home run and drove in three runs for the A's in their 6-2 victory over the Mariners.
Lowrie started the season at shortstop when Hiroyuki Nakajima went on the disabled list.
Nakajima, Rosales to stay in Oakland for rehab
OAKLAND -- Oakland infielders Hiro Nakajima and Adam Rosales will not make the trip to Houston or Los Angeles, A's manager Bob Melvin said before Thursday's game against the Seattle Mariners.
They are both on the disabled list and will remain in Oakland to continue rehab work.
"Hiro did a little soft toss," Melvin said. "We want to get these guys healthy."
Melvin also indicated that both players will be sent on a rehab assignment before playing in a regular-season game.
Barton sent to Triple-A; Stinson claimed by Orioles
OAKLAND -- The A's announced that first baseman Daric Barton cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Sacramento.
Barton batted .206 with two doubles and five RBIs in 17 games this spring before being designated for assignment.
Right-hander Josh Stinson, meanwhile, was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
The A's originally claimed Stinson off waivers on March 29 and then designated him for assignment Wednesday to clear the way for right-hander Will Harris.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.