A's name Muller as 2023 Opening Day starter vs. Angels

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The Athletics named left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller their 2023 Opening Day starter on Friday.

It will be the first Opening Day start for the 25-year-old Muller, who arrived in Oakland in December as part of the three-team trade that sent A’s catcher Sean Murphy to the Atlanta Braves.

Muller will go head-to-head against Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani on the mound to launch the A’s 2023 MLB season. He is the only rookie pitcher named a team’s Opening Day starter this season.

Muller made his MLB debut in 2021 and has 12 major league appearances (11 starts) under his belt, logging a 5.14 ERA, 1.367 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 in 49 innings for the Braves the past two seasons.

Although he has yet to find a groove in The Show, Muller -- a second-round pick by Atlanta in 2016 -- owns a career 3.18 ERA and 1.25 WHIP across six minor league seasons.

Muller will begin the year atop the A’s rotation, which is not quite settled heading into the new season. James Kaprielian likely will be included, as will newcomer Shintaro Fujinami. However, A’s manager Mark Kotsay stated earlier this week that the Japanese right-hander will pitch every six or seventh day to start the season.

Left-handers Ken Waldichuk and JP Sears, as well as right-hander Adam Oller, are also candidates to begin the season in the rotation.

Muller is the A’s third different pitcher to earn the Opening Day start in the last three years. Frankie Montas toed the rubber on Opening Day last season, and Chris Bassitt was handed the honor in 2021.

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Per A’s baseball information manager Mike Selleck, the only A’s pitchers in franchise history to enter an Opening Day start with less MLB experience than Muller are Sonny Gray (2014), Carlos Reyes (1996) and Vide Blue (1971), all with 10 starts apiece.

The A’s have five exhibition games remaining on their schedule before heading into Opening Day at the Oakland Coliseum on March 30.

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