Oakland A's MLN: Final Cuts, Camp Breaks

The Oakland A's 2011 minor league spring training camp came to an end over the weekend. Before camp broke, the A's released two more minor leaguers, bringing the total to seven this spring. We have those details, plus news on where Michael Taylor will be starting the season and late camp standouts inside...

A's Cut Two

Before the Oakland A's minor league spring training came to an end, the organization parted ways with two more minor leaguers: outfielder David Thomas and right-hander Mathieu LeBlanc Poirier. In total, the A's released seven minor leaguers this spring.

Thomas was 14th round pick of the A's in 2008 out of Catawba College. The outfielder impressed the A's with his aggressive style of play, but injuries slowed him in his two-and-a-half years with the organization.

Thomas got off to an excellent start to his professional career in 2008 when he hit an even .300 in 62 games with the A's Arizona Rookie League club and short-season Vancouver. In 2009, he got off to a fast start with Low-A Kane County and earned an early season promotion to High-A Stockton. After struggling with the Ports (.218 in 46 games), Thomas was sent back to Kane County, but he finished with only 36 games played with the Cougars thanks to injury.

In 2010, Thomas was limited to 69 games, mostly with Stockton. He hit .242 with a 707 OPS.

LeBlanc Poirier was a 21st round pick by the A's in 2008. The French-Canadian right-hander was also slowed by injuries during his two-plus year stint with the organization. LeBlanc Poirier missed all of the 2010 season with an arm injury. In his only full professional season, LeBlanc Poirier had a 5-10 record and a 4.66 ERA in 116 innings for Low-A Kane County and High-A Stockton.

Taylor To Start Season At Extended

A's outfield prospect Michael Taylor will not be starting the season with Triple-A Sacramento, as was anticipated at the start of camp. Still dealing with a right wrist injury, Taylor will begin the year at extended spring training, where he will continue to rehab the wrist.

According to A's Director of Player Personnel Keith Lieppman, Taylor will likely be at extended for at least the first two weeks of the season, but he is hopeful Taylor will be ready for regular season action not long after that. Taylor is in his second season with the A's after beginning his career in the Philadelphia organization. He hit .272 with six homers and 78 RBIs in 127 games with the River Cats last season.

Former Top Picks Shine In Camp

When asked to name some standouts from the last half of camp, Lieppman singled out former A's first round picks Jemile Weeks (2008), Grant Green (2009) and Michael Choice (2010) as having had strong camps from the beginning to the end.

Weeks has been assigned to Sacramento's roster. It will be his first season at the Triple-A level. Green will be tackling Double-A with the Midland Rockhounds this season. He got a taste of the Texas League during the playoffs last season. Choice will start his first full season with High-A Stockton. The outfielder was dealing with a minor hamstring strain late in camp, but Lieppman indicated that Choice should be ready to play on Opening Night for the Ports.

Lieppman also mentioned that left-hander Josh Outman has improved with every outing he has made since being sent down from major league camp this spring. Outman is coming back from 2009 Tommy John surgery and he struggled with his command during big league camp. Lieppman said Outman has been 100 percent healthy during minor league camp and is throwing without restriction. Outman will be in the Sacramento starting rotation to begin the year.

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