A's Winter Update: Stats, Rehabs, Signings

We take a look at the winter league performances of players in the A's system, get an update on the health of a top pick in the A's 2006 draft, learn about a new A's signing and track some former A's farmhands who have signed minor league contracts in recent weeks.

Winter League Update

Dominican Winter League
Santiago Casilla: A's reliever Casilla missed much of last year's winter league season with arm problems, but he is back on the field for the Leones del Escogido in 2007. He has made three, one-inning appearances for Escogido. He hasn't allowed a hit and only one walk in three innings with three strike outs. Casilla made 46 appearances for the A's in 2007, striking out 52 in 50.2 innings with a 4.44 ERA. He has the inside track on a set-up role with the A's in 2008.

Mexican Winter League
Troy Cate: The A's signed Cate as a minor league free agent this off-season. The left-hander has a 2.70 ERA with three saves and six strike outs in 6.2 innings for the Venados de Mazatlan. He will be a non-roster invitee to major league spring training.

Arnold Leon: The 19-year-old right-hander is one of the A's big international free agent signings this off-season. He is currently pitching for Tomateros de Culiacan in a relief role. Leon is 4-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 22 innings for the Tomateros. He has 21 strike outs and eight walks.

Venezuelan Winter League
Raul Padron: Padron joined the Leones del Caracas late in the VWL season after participating in Arizona Fall League. He was off to a good start with the Leones (three hits in seven at-bats). However, it was announced on Monday that Padron tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and will miss the first 50 games of next season. It isn't clear whether Padron's suspension will effect his status with Caracas.

Gregorio Petit: The A's shortstop prospect is having a tough winter for his hometown Caracas team. He is batting only .214 in 70 at-bats. Petit had only walked one time in his first 20 games, but he has shown some recent improvement in that area, walking four times in his last seven games.

Brad Knox: Knox has a 3.47 ERA in 46.2 innings for the Leones del Caracas. He has a pedestrian 28:20 K:BB ratio, but Knox has managed to limit the damage. He has allowed four runs in his last 12.1 innings and he has 11 strike outs over that stretch.

Henry Rodriguez: The A's hard-throwing right-hander has struggled recently for Aguilas del Zuila. On November 27, Rodriguez had his best start of the winter, allowing one run in seven innings. However, he appeared in two games this past week, allowing 10 runs in three innings. Those two performances raised his ERA to 5.34. Before the last two outings, Rodriguez had allowed 10 runs in 27.1 innings (3.32 ERA).

Jose Rojas: Rojas, who was acquired by the A's in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft this past week, is pitching for the Caribes de Anzoategui. He has a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings. Rojas has allowed only nine hits and six walks and he has struck out 20.

Lee Continuing Rehab
The A's fourth round draft pick in 2006, Chad Lee, is continuing his rehabilitation from shoulder problems. The hard-throwing right-hander missed the entire 2007 season. According to Oakland A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, Lee began his throwing program on November 1. He is likely to report to extended spring training in April.

Lee had a 4.29 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts) for short-season Vancouver in 2006. He struck out 31 and walked 15 in 50.1 innings. The Oklahoma native turns 22 in late December.

A's Ink Farley
The A's announced the signing of minor league free agent pitcher Chris Farley. He appeared in nine games (eight starts) in the Yankees chain in 2007. Farley had a 4.74 ERA with 42 strike outs in 38 innings. He spent the 2006 season in the independent CanAm League. He was originally a 14th round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2001. Farley has made one appearance above the A-ball level during his career, a 3.2 inning appearance in Triple-A in 2007. He struck out six but allowed five runs.

Former A's Farmhands Sign Minor League Deals
A number of former Oakland A's farmhands have signed minor league contracts in recent weeks:

Ron Flores: A's long-time farmhand and former middle reliever has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Keith Ginter: Former A's and River Cats infielder has inked a deal with Boston. He spent the 2007 season in the Cleveland chain.

Mike Rouse: Former A's middle infield prospect has signed with the Chicago White Sox. Rouse appeared in 41 games for the Indians and 20 games for Triple-A Buffalo in 2007.

Justin Lehr: Former A's relief prospect has signed with Cincinnati. Lehr was a Triple-A All-Star in 2007 in the Seattle chain and he has a 7-1 record and a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts this winter in the Mexican Winter League.

Jason Karnuth: 2006 River Cat Karnuth signed with Milwaukee after an injury plagued 2007 season. Karnuth made headlines for a bad reason in 2007 when he was injured by teammate Roman Colon in a fight in the clubhouse at Triple-A Toledo. Colon broke Karnuth's nose after Karnuth attempted to break-up a fight between Colon and fellow Toledo Mud Hen Jordan Tata.

John Suomi: Former catching prospect signed a minor league deal with Philadelphia. The 22nd round pick of the A's in 2000 missed the entire 2005 season when he was seriously injured in a collision at the plate in a California League playoff game with the Modesto A's in 2004. He was with the Washington Nationals chain in 2007.

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