Oakland A's MLN: Hunter Released

In the latest edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook, we detail news from A's minor league camp, including a release, injury news and early camp standouts.

Hunter Let Go

On Monday, the Oakland A's released right-hander Brett Hunter. Hunter, the A's seventh-round pick in 2008, was entering his final season under his original minor league contract with Oakland. He is now free to sign with another major-league organization.

Despite being a seventh-round pick, Hunter was a high-profile selection because he had been a top-100 draft prospect heading into that year's draft. The hard-throwing right-hander out of Pepperdine signed an over-slot deal with the A's just before the signing deadline that season.

In six years with the A's, Hunter flashed plenty of potential, but he is also struggled with physical ailments and with command problems. In 230 innings, Hunter struck-out 266, but he walked 164. Hunter never threw more than 60 innings in any one season with Oakland.

Last year, Hunter began the season at extended spring training, but once he was healthy, he had his best season as a pro. In 36 innings between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland, Hunter posted a 3.25 ERA with a 49:20 K:BB. He allowed one homerun. Hunter will turn 27 in late June.

Early Camp Standouts

The A's have a little more than one week of minor league games under their belt. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, prospects Renato Nunez, Billy McKinney, Matt Olson and Daniel Robertson have been the early standouts. All four participated in the A's spring minor league mini-camp and all have received playing time in major league spring games.

Although assignments are not yet close to being finalized, Lieppman referred to that group as "perhaps [the] Stockton nucleus."

Lieppman also mentioned that right-hander Seth Streich has looked good in his return from an elbow injury that limited him late in the 2013 season. Lieppman said that Streich's velocity has returned to its normal levels.

Ynoa Progressing

Lieppman also mentioned that right-hander Michael Ynoa has looked good in camp in a relief role. When asked if Ynoa would pitch out of the bullpen during the 2014 regular season, A's Assistant General Manager David Forst said that no decision had been made yet as to Ynoa's role for 2014. The organization will decide whether to put Ynoa in the rotation or the bullpen later in camp. He is expected to pitch for High-A Stockton at the start of the season. Ynoa is in the beginning of his second option year, so his clock for making the major leagues with the A's is ticking.

DeYoung Headed For Surgery

Promising right-hander Derek DeYoung announced on Twitter on Tuesday night that he was headed for Tommy John surgery. He will miss the 2014 season.

DeYoung was the A's 18th-round pick in 2012 out of Oakton (IL) Community College. Last season, DeYoung pitched for the Low-A Beloit Snappers. He had a 4.22 ERA in 113 innings with an 83:41 K:BB.

As a starter, DeYoung posted a 5.88 ERA in 75 innings. Out of the bullpen, DeYoung had an 0.95 ERA in 38 innings.

A's Minor Leaguers Make Impact In Big League Camp

The A's big league squad routed the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, and several A's minor leaguers got significant playing time in the game.

Oakland scored nine times in the first inning before the first out was even recorded. Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer in the first, and the first out was made by the inning's 11th batter. Fifteen batters in all came to bat for the A's in the inning.

With the A's piling up so many at-bats early in the game, manager Bob Melvin brought in several minor league players starting in the sixth inning. Dusty Coleman, Conner Crumbliss, Tyler Ladendorf, Alden Carrithers, Ryan Ortiz, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Jake Goebbert all got in the game, while Nolan Sanburn pitched the final inning. Crumbliss had an RBI double, Nakajima collected two hits, while Carrithers and Ortiz each notched a hit.

Michael Taylor continued to make his case for a big league roster spot. He had a double and a triple and three RBI. Coco Crisp reached base four times with three hits and a walk, while Daric Barton had two hits in his return to the line-up.

In his first start since he was named the favorite for a final rotation spot, Jesse Chavez allowed his first two runs of the spring. Both runs were solo homeruns. He allowed six hits and walked two while striking out two in 4.2 innings.

Snappers To Play In Miller Park

The Beloit Snappers will take-on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a game at the Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park on May 24. It will be the first game an A's affiliate has played at a big league park since the A's Midwest League affiliate was the Kane County Cougars and they played at Wrigley Field.

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