|A's Roster Starting To Take Shape|
by Staff of OaklandClubhouse.com, March 19, 2012 at 12:02 am ET
Neil Wagner Profile
The Oakland A's made several roster moves over the weekend, trimming five players from major league camp, and another four more on Monday, as the team prepares for next week's trip to Japan for the 2012 season's opening series.
On Friday, the A's optioned infielder Brandon Hicks to Triple-A Sacramento. Hicks was claimed off of waivers by the A's from the Atlanta Braves last week and never officially reported to big league camp. He will likely fill a utility infield role in Sacramento at the start of the season.
On Sunday, the A's optioned outfielder Michael Taylor, first baseman Chris Carter and reliever Neil Wagner to Triple-A Sacramento. They also sent non-roster invitee Erick Threets, a reliever, to minor league camp. Taylor and Carter began camp with an outside chance of winning spots on the A's Opening Day roster, but both players were hurt by the fact that they had options remaining while other players competing at their same position were out of options. Both players will be top options for the A's during the regular season should injuries arise.
Relievers Wagner and Threets may also be called upon during the regular season. Both are hard-throwers who could fill middle relief roles. All four players sent down on Sunday are expected to play for Sacramento this season.
On Monday, the A's trimmed four more players from their big league camp roster, optioning Derek Norris to Triple-A Sacramento and re-assigning non-roster players Ryan Ortiz, Brandon Moss and Jeff Fiorentino to minor league camp. With Ortiz and Norris heading to minor league camp, the A's have only three catchers left in big league camp - starter Kurt Suzuki and Anthony Recker and Josh Donaldson. Donaldson has spent all of spring training playing third base, so it seems likely that Recker will open the year as the A's back-up catcher. Fiorentino and Moss, both minor league veterans signed to free agent deals this off-season, had strong camps but both were victims of a numbers game with the A's crowded OF depth chart.
The A's have 37 players currently in major league camp. They can bring up to 30 players with them to Japan. The major league roster must be cut down to 25 by the start of the US portion of the 2012 schedule.