A's Invite 20 Non-Roster Players To Camp

With the start of the Oakland A's spring training less than three weeks away, we take a look at the non-roster players who have been invited to the A's major league camp.

The Oakland A's spring training camp opens at Papago Park in Phoenix on February 13th when pitchers and catchers report to major league camp. All other players are required to report by February 20th and the first full A's workout will be February 21st. The A's will move their spring training home from Papago to Phoenix Municipal Stadium on February 29th.

Oakland will leave the desert early this season, as they head to Japan for a season-opening series in Tokyo versus the Boston Red Sox. The A's will play 23 Cactus League exhibition games before heading to Japan to play two exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants. The A's open the regular season on March 25th at the Tokyo Dome against the Red Sox, and they will play a two-game series. Oakland will return to the Bay Area to play the San Francisco Giants for the Bay Bridge Series March 28-March 30.

The A's will have 60 players in big league camp. In addition to the 40-man roster players, the A's are inviting 20 non-roster players to major league camp. Below is a complete list of the A's non-roster invitees:

Infielders (3)
Jeff Baisley: Baisley, the 2006 Midwest League MVP, had a strong first half of the 2007 season with Double-A Midland, but struggled in the second half of the season after sustaining a knee injury. The A's 2005 12th round pick participated in the Arizona Fall League this off-season and is the A's top third base prospect. He could start the season at Triple-A Sacramento.

Brooks Conrad: Conrad was signed as a minor league free agent this off-season. He was a top prospect in the Houston Astros chain for a number of years, but he never got a shot at the major league level. Conrad struggled at Triple-A Round Rock last season, posting a 725 OPS after posting an 868 OPS in 2006 at the same level. He has hit at least 22 homeruns in each of the last three seasons. Conrad has played both at second and third base.

Casey Rogowski: Rogowski also signed with the A's as a minor league free agent this off-season. The hulking first baseman had spent his entire career in the Chicago White Sox chain. The left-handed hitter has a career OBP of .363 in nine minor league seasons. He had 14 homers for Triple-A Charlotte in 2007.

Outfielders (3)
Aaron Cunningham: Cunningham was one of the six prospects acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Dan Haren trade. The 21-year-old outfielder split his season between High-A and Double-A in 2007. Cunningham, who was traded from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks in July 2007, hit a combined .308 with 57 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs, 28 stolen bases and an 885 OPS for High-A Winston-Salem, High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile. Cunningham could return to Double-A to start the season, although a strong spring performance may write his ticket to Triple-A.

Todd Linden: The former San Francisco Giants top prospect joined the A's as a minor league free agent this winter. The switch-hitter had a rough 2007 season with San Francisco. He began the year with the Giants, but hit only .182 with a 450 OPS in 30 games. He was released by the Giants and claimed by Florida, where he improved. In 85 games, Linden hit .271 with a 711 OPS for Florida. He has played 270 major league games in his career. Linden could compete for the A's fifth outfielder spot if Oakland doesn't acquire any more established major league outfielders before the start of the season.

Danny Putnam: The A's 2004 supplemental first round pick made his major league debut with Oakland last season. He hit .214 with a homer in 28 major league at-bats. His minor league season was marred by a broken hand he sustained after being hit by a pitch. He hit .250 in 73 minor league games with five homers. The left-handed outfielder was outrighted off of the A's 40-man roster earlier this month when the A's signed Emil Brown and Putnam cleared waivers this week. He is likely to start the season with Triple-A Sacramento.

Catchers (3)
Jeremy Brown: Brown will be attending the A's major league camp for the fifth consecutive season. He was outrighted off of the team's 40-man roster during the 2007 season. The right-handed hitting catcher spent the entire 2007 season with Triple-A Sacramento, where he had a solid season. He compiled an 833 OPS in 341 at-bats with 14 homers. Brown had three hits in 10 at-bats with the A's last September.

Justin Knoedler: Knoedler, another former Giants prospect, signed as a minor league free agent this off-season. The 27-year-old catcher spent the 2007 season with Triple-A Fresno. In 89 games, he hit .288 with an 816 OPS. In six minor league seasons, Knoedler has a 747 OPS. He has appeared in 14 major league games and he has two hits in 18 at-bats.

Anthony Recker: Recker, the powerful right-handed hitting catcher, had an up-and-down season in 2007. He began the year red-hot with High-A Stockton, where he was a California League All-Star after batting .319 with 13 homers and a 1010 OPS in 56 games. He was promoted to Double-A mid-season and struggled with the Rockhounds, hitting only .204 with four homers and a 593 OPS in 58 games. Recker was scheduled to participate in the Arizona Fall League, but missed the fall schedule with a broken hamate bone. He should be healthy for the start of spring training.

Pitchers (11)
Troy Cate: The left-handed reliever signed with the A's as a minor league free agent this off-season. He spent the past three seasons in the Cardinals chain and he made his major league debut in 2007 with St. Louis, posting a 3.38 ERA in 16 innings of relief. He began his career in the Seattle organization. Cate has a 3.85 ERA in 498.2 minor league innings.

Angel Garcia: Garcia signed with the A's as a minor league free agent after spending seven seasons in the Minnesota chain. The right-hander stands at 6'7'' and is a native of Puerto Rico. He split his 2007 season between High-A and Double-A, posting a combined 4.80 ERA with 61 strike-outs in 65.2 innings.

Chris Gissell: Gissell signed as a minor league free agent after spending two seasons in Japan. The 6'5'' right-hander spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues before heading to Japan. He has a career 4.22 ERA in 1329 minor league innings. Gissell pitched in five games for the Colorado Rockies in 2004.

Gio Gonzalez: Gonzalez was one of the centerpieces of the Nick Swisher trade with Chicago earlier this month. The lefty is one of the A's top pitching prospects and he has an outside chance of sticking with the big league club out of spring training. He has yet to pitch at the Triple-A level in his career, but he led all minor leaguers with 185 strike-outs last season at Double-A. The 22-year-old is one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball, and the A's are hoping he is one of their top starters for years to come.

Arnold Leon: Leon was one of the A's three six-figure international signings this off-season. The right-handed pitcher starred in the Mexican Summer and Winter Leagues this past season. Leon, who won't turn 20 until early September, had a 1.94 ERA in 41.2 relief innings during the summer and a 3.49 ERA in 28.1 relief innings this winter. The A's see Leon as a starter long-term, and he is expected to begin the season in High-A Stockton, although if he looks ready, the team could push him up to Double-A Midland.

Jay Marshall: Marshall is returning to A's camp after a tumultuous off-season. The left-handed submarine relief specialist spent the entire 2007 season with the A's after joining the team as a Rule 5 pick. He had a 6.43 ERA in 42 major league innings last season. Marshall was outrighted by the A's off of the 40-man roster this off-season and he was claimed by the Boston Red Sox. Later in the off-season, Marshall was outrighted by the Red Sox and re-claimed by the A's. Oakland later dropped Marshall from the 40-man roster, but this time the team was able to retain him after he cleared waivers.

Kirk Saarloos: The veteran Saarloos was a late addition for the A's, who signed him last week. He returns to the A's after a season with Cincinnati, where he struggled with the Reds. Saarloos was with the A's in 2004-2006, and he was a 10-game winner for Oakland in 2005. Saarloos was dealt to Cincinnati for David Shafer before the 2007 season, but he struggled to the tune of a 7.17 ERA for the Reds. He also spent some time in Triple-A. Saarloos will compete for the A's fifth starter spot this spring, and could also compete for a bullpen role for Oakland.

James Simmons: The A's 2007 first round pick will begin his first professional spring training in major league camp. Simmons had a strong pro debut season, beginning his career in Double-A, where he had a 3.94 ERA in 29.2 innings. The UC-Riverside product then spent the fall at the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 2.89 ERA in 9.1 innings. Simmons will likely start the season back in Double-A Midland.

Greg Smith: Smith was one of the six prospects acquired by the A's in the Dan Haren deal. He had a strong 2007 season in the Diamondbacks' chain, posting a 3.54 ERA in 122 innings. He had three complete games in a season split between Double-A and Triple-A. Smith followed that strong showing with a solid effort at the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings. The left-hander will compete for a spot in the A's rotation this spring.

Ryan Wing: The White Sox's 2001 second round pick signed with the A's as a minor league free agent this off-season. He had a strong 2007 campaign with Double-A Birmingham after struggling with injuries from 2004-2006. Wing had a 3.24 ERA in 114 innings (17 starts and 18 relief appearances) in 2007. The left-hander has a career 3.94 ERA in 111 minor league games.

Brad Ziegler: Ziegler will be attending his first major league spring training camp after a strong 2007 minor league season. The right-hander made a smooth transition from starter to side-arm reliever. In a season split between Double-A and Triple-A, Ziegler had a 2.41 ERA in 70.1 innings. He was particularly strong against right-handed hitters and could fill a specialist role for the A's down-the-road.

Minor League Camp Details

The Oakland A's minor league camp opens on March 3rd when pitchers and catchers report to Papago Park. Position players report on March 7th.

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