A's Return Goleski; Name Kennedy 5th Starter

The Oakland A's roster came more into focus on Wednesday, as they returned Rule 5 pick Ryan Goleski and officially named Joe Kennedy the fifth starter, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to Slusser, the A's decided to return Rule 5 pick Ryan Goleski to the Cleveland Indians after failed attempts to trade for his rights. Goleski, who was selected with the first pick in this winter's Rule 5 draft, was expected to be the A's fifth outfielder at the start of camp. However, the 25 year old prospect had a rough spring, batting only .152.

The A's paid $100,000 to Tampa Bay to acquire the Rule 5 rights to Goleski, so the team is undoubtedly disappointed that they won't be able to keep him. However, with the emergence of Antonio Perez as a possible back-up outfielder and the excellent spring of top A's prospect Travis Buck, Oakland likely couldn't forsee a major league spot for Goleski this season.

Goleski hit 27 homers and drove-in 106 runs last season in the Cleveland chain. He sustained a wrist injury at the end of the season which required off-season surgery. There had been some talk about compensation from the Indians in regards to Goleski's injury (as the Indians failed to disclose the injury before the Rule 5 draft), but Goleski arrived in camp healthy, ending those discussions.

It looks as though the A's are likely to keep their other Rule 5 pick, Jay Marshall. Marshall, a left-handed reliever, has been impressive thus far in camp and could act as a left-handed relief specialist for the A's this season.

Marshall's chances of making the A's roster increased with the announcement that Joe Kennedy will be the A's fifth starter. Kennedy has had a horrible spring, but he threw five strong innings in a game versus the Brewers yesterday and was named the fifth starter today. Had the left-handed Kennedy been left out of the rotation, he would have been put back in the bullpen, leaving no spot for Marshall. As it stands now, Marshall should be the second lefty in the A's bullpen, joining Alan Embree.

The A's are waiting to hear whether the Cincinnati Reds will keep Jared Burton, a Rule 5 reliever who was selected out of the A's chain this winter. Burton has had a good spring for the Reds and is in the running for the final bullpen spot in Cincinnati.

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