Starting pitcher Andrew Bailey, who led all A's minor leaguers with 150 strikeouts in 2007, will be heading back to the Instructional League for a second consecutive year. Bailey worked on remaking his mechanics during the Instructional League last season and he said that the league allowed him to do work he couldn't do during the regular season.
"The whole time I was in Vancouver, they were trying to give me a little pointers and point out a few things I was doing wrong and they said that they would help me out more when I got to the Instructional Leagues," Bailey said last spring.
"When I got to the Instructional League, [Oakland A's Pitching Coordinator] Ron Romanick got me to go over the head with an almost Barry Zito-look alike motion, you can say. I love it. It keeps me balanced. Before in my delivery, I had this jump and I have eliminated the jump and my body is at the same point every time I throw now. I have been working on that and they gave me a few drills to work on when I throw."
Oakland A's Director of Players Development Keith Lieppman oversees the staff, which includes Marcus Jensen as the Manager, Greg Sparks as the Hitting Coordinator and Ron Romanick as the Pitching Coordinator. Garvin Alston, Radhames Perez and Don Schulze are the pitching coaches, and Juan Dillone, David Brito, Aaron Nieckula, Ron Plaza, Tim Garland, Todd Steverson, Juan Navarette and Benny Winslow will coach the position players.
Although the league is heavy on instruction, there will be a schedule of 26 games. The game schedule begins on Thursday, September 20 and runs through Friday, October 19. Twenty-five of those games will come against the Angels, Brewers, Cubs, Giants, White Sox, Padres and Mariners minor leaguers. On Tuesday, October 16, the A's Instructional League team will take on the Chinese National team in an exhibition. The A's squad will play their home games at Papago Park Baseball Complex, home of the A's minor league operations.
A number of the A's 2007 draft picks will be reporting to the Instructional League, led by pitchers Travis Banwart, Andrew Carignan, Sam Demel and Brad Hertzler and position players Sean Doolittle, Danny Hamblin and Josh Horton. 2007 second round pick Grant Desme will also be in camp, where he will look to get back some of the at-bats he missed while recovering from a broken wrist he sustained at the end of his collegiate season. Desme got 46 at-bats at the tail-end of the Vancouver Canadians' season.
A pair of 2005 draft picks will also be making their way back from injury during the Instructional League. Craig Italiano and Jared Lansford will be back on the mound after missing much of the 2007 season. Italiano will be making a comeback from a horrific injury he sustained on May 14 with the Kane County Cougars. He was struck in the forehead with a line-drive and sustained a fractured skull. He missed the rest of the season. It was the second consecutive injury interrupted season for the talented Italiano, whose 98 MPH fastball is one of the best in the A's system.
The 2007 season was a lost year for Lansford, as well. He injured his right lat muscle on Opening Day with the Stockton Ports and didn't make another start all season. He has been throwing at Papago for the past few weeks and is expected to report to the Hawaiian Winter Baseball league later on in the fall.
Free agent signings Nick Walters, Mike Lissman and Justin Dowdy will also be attending the Instructional League. Walters was signed as a minor league free agent after being released by the Chicago White Sox this past spring. He had spent two years in the White Sox chain. Walters had a strong season at three levels for the A's, posting a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings. Lissman was signed as an undrafted free agent after he helped the Oregon State Beavers win back-to-back College World Series titles. The outfielder played in the Arizona Rookie League and batted .295 with a 901 OPS. Dowdy will be making his Oakland A's debut at the Instructional League. He was signed out of the independent United League on September 5. The left-hander was the closer for the Alexandria Aces this season and he had 31 saves and struck out 102 in 72.2 innings. Dowdy is a former Angels farmhand.
A complete listing of the A's 2007 Instructional League roster is below.
Instructional League Roster
|Andrew Bailey||RHP||R/R||6'3||220||05/31/84||KANE CTY/STO/SAC|
|Travis Banwart||RHP||R/R||6'4||205||2/14/86||KANE CTY|
|Trevor Cahill||RHP||R/R||6'3||190||03/01/88||KANE CTY|
|Andrew Carignan||RHP||R/R||5'11||205||7/23/86||KANE CTY|
|Justin Dowdy||LHP||L/L||6'1||175||8/13/83||UNITED LG|
|Sam Demel||RHP||R/R||6'0||200||10/23/85||STO/KANE CTY|
|Jason Fernandez||RHP||R/R||6'2||180||1/8/85||KANE CTY|
|Hector Garcia||RHP||R/R||6'2||196||10/2/85||AZL A's|
|Craig Italiano||RHP||R/R||6'4||215||7/22/86||KANE CTY|
|Ronny Morla||RHP||R/R||6'3||185||5/19/85||AZL A's|
|Nick Walters||LHP||L/L||6'2||175||9/30/85||VAN/STO/KANE CTY|
|Juan Nunez||C||R/R||6'1||190||8/27/87||AZL A's|
|Matt Smith||C||R/R||5'11||215||1/30/86||KANE CTY|
|Mike Affronti||2B/SS||R/R||6'1||190||02/13/84||KANE CTY/STO|
|Larry Cobb||2B||R/R||5'9||175||7/10/85||KANE CTY|
|Sean Doolittle||1B||L/L||6'3||190||9/26/86||VAN/KANE CTY|
|Josh Horton||SS||L/R||6'1||195||2/19/86||VAN/KANE CTY|
|Christian Vitters||SS/3B||L/R||6'3||205||6/24/85||KANE CTY|
|Toddric Johnson||OF||L/L||6'1||165||12/17/84||KANE CTY|
|Mike Lissman||OF||R/L||6'0||200||6/10/85||AZL A's|
|Matt Sulentic||OF||L/R||5'10||170||10/6/87||KANE CTY/ VAN|
|Jareck West||OF||R/R||5'10||210||4/30/85||AZL A's|
Oakland A's Instructional League Game Schedule
Thurs., Sept. 20 vs. Angels
Fri., Sept. 21 at Brewers
Sat., Sept. 22 vs. Cubs
Mon., Sept. 24 at Cubs
Tues., Sept. 25 vs. Brewers
Wed., Sept. 26 at Giants
Thurs., Sept. 27 vs. White Sox
Fri., Sept. 28 at Angels
Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Giants
Mon., Oct. 1 vs. Cubs
Tues., Oct. 2 at Cubs
Wed., Oct. 3 vs. Giants
Thurs., Oct. 4 at White Sox
Fri., Oct. 5 at Angels
Sat., Oct 6 vs. Brewers
Mon., Oct. 8 at Cubs
Tues., Oct. 9 vs. Giants
Wed., Oct. 10 vs. Angels
Thurs., Oct. 11 vs. Padres
Fri., Oct. 12 vs. White Sox
Sat., Oct. 13 at Angels
Mon., Oct. 15 vs. Giants
Tues., Oct. 16 at Chinese National
Wed., Oct. 17 at Seattle
Thurs., Oct. 18 at Giants
Fri., Oct. 19 vs. Giants (9 am MST)
Note: Weekday games begin at 12:30pm MST. Saturday games begin at 10:00am MST. All Sundays are off.