Prodigal Son Returns Home

Before there was Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder or Barry Zito, there was Steve Karsay. In 1993, Karsay represented the future of the Oakland A's franchise as the team's brightest pitching prospect. Thirteen years after Karsay made his Oakland debut, the right-hander returns to the A's organization. This time, however, he represents a solution for the present rather than the hope for the future.

Looking for healthy effective relievers anywhere, the A's turned to a one-time huge prospect to help plug a hole in their bullpen.

The A's acquired Steve Karsay from Cleveland in a minor-league transaction for cash on Sunday, and are expected to bring him to Oakland in time for Tuesday's series opener against the Seattle Mariners.

Karsay, 34, was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings for Triple-A Buffalo. He's allowed a .188 opponents' average, walked one and struck out 14. A's scouts saw Karsay in spring training and again recently, reporting that he was throwing 93 mph with a good splitter.

"He's been throwing very well," A's assistant GM David Forst said.

"We feel like he has a chance to contribute sometime soon."

Karsay was a top prospect when the A's originally acquired him in a 1993 trading deadline deal for Rickey Henderson.

But injuries derailed a promising career. He's made seven trips to the disabled list, and missed two entire years. GM Billy Beane traded Karsay to Cleveland nine years ago, for Mike Fetters, and has often called that his worst trade.

It was curious Cleveland traded Karsay considering their GM, Mark Shapiro, has publicly stated his dissatisfaction with the Indians bullpen and that changes were coming. Karsay did have a provision in his contract that allowed him to go to another organization if the Indians didn't add him to their roster by a certain date in May.

"At this point, we're not concerned with why or why not a team would trade somebody," Forst said.

"He's another option for us."

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