With the Oakland A's minor league camp set to open next week when pitchers and catchers report, we…
A's Spring Notes: Chavez On Different Routine
Third baseman Eric Chavez isn't on precisely the same workout program as the rest of the team. Because of his three off-season surgeries (both shoulders, lower back), he is working under close supervision from the A's coaching and training staff.
Chavez hasn't been limited in any activity, however, and he has taken some batting practice off of A's pitchers, although his sessions have been briefer than his teammates' turns at-bat thus far. Although Chavez aims to start the regular season on-time, he will likely be delayed at the start of the exhibition slate, which begins for the A's on Thursday versus Milwaukee. He expects to play in exhibition games toward the end of the first week of March.
Set-up man Keith Foulke has a slight calf strain in his right leg, which has limited him to flat-ground throwing. Foulke didn't believe he'd be much behind the other pitchers, though he wasn't sure when he'd be throwing off the mound.
Second base prospect Kevin Melillo, who had right wrist surgery during the off-season, is still recovering from the wrist injury and is now dealing with a sprained ankle. Melillo has been limited to taking swings off a tee every other day thus far. Over the weekend, he sprained his ankle stepping on a ball at the end of a workout and will be shut down for at least several days.
Reliever Santiago Casilla, meanwhile, is healthy, but he still isn't in camp. He continued to be delayed by visa issues that have cost him more than a week at camp thus far. Casilla, who used the name Jairo Garcia fraudulently the first few years of his pro career, was working out at the A's complex in the Dominican Republic and shouldn't be too far behind once he does arrive in the US.
Two of the most impressive arms in camp so far are 19-year-old right-hander Arnold Leon, who was signed in Mexico this winter, and 22-year-old right-hander Henry Rodriguez. Leon's stuff looks terrific and he's drawn raves from the catchers and coaching staff. He is pitching in the US for the first time. Rodriguez, who can dial-up his fastball at 100 MPH, has been throwing the ball hard this spring.
Top outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez has also been impressive thus far this spring. Right now, he is slated to start the year in Triple-A, but the A's aren't ruling out carrying him on their Opening Day roster if he looks like he is ready.
"You don't want to put timetables on anybody. A year ago, no one would have predicted Travis Buck would make the team, so we're going to have open eyes," Director of player personnel Billy Owens said of Gonzalez.
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