Missing from the names on the Oakland A's first minor league spring rosters was Matt Thomson, the A's 12th round pick last season. Thomson was nearly unhittable after signing with Oakland last year, posting a 1.94 ERA in 51 innings for short-season Vancouver and High-A Stockton. He had a 71:10 K:BB ratio and a .196 BAA.
Big things are expected of the 6'4'' Thomson in 2011, but his season is likely to get off to a slow start. With minor league Opening Day two weeks away, Thomson is home rehabbing a right shoulder injury. He is on a throwing program, so as soon as his arm strength has returned, Thomson will be cleared to report to Phoenix and begin the process of building up his pitch count for the season.
Thomson isn't the only high-profile A's prospect away from Phoenix but on a throwing program. A's 2007 first-round pick James Simmons is making his way back from a right shoulder injury that cost him all of last season. He has made progress in his rehab but is still in the throwing program portion of the recovery. Like Thomson, when Simmons' arm strength is back to normal, he will report to Phoenix to train for the season. Both pitchers are likely to spend time at extended spring training.
Reliever Brad Kilby is in Phoenix, but he isn't ready to participate in minor league spring games. Kilby, who had shoulder surgery last season, had a minor hiccup in his recovery when he strained a lat muscle while throwing a bullpen last week. After a visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum - who performed Kilby's surgery - confirmed that the injury was minor and that his shoulder was sound, Kilby continued his rehab and therapy. He is expected to play catch this week and hopes to be back on the mound by next week.
Kilby anticipates starting the season in extended spring training but believes there is a good chance he will be with an affiliate by the end of April or early May.