Live From Arizona: Japan Trip Looming

PHOENIX – With the Oakland A's departure for Japan only days away, the team is continuing to make moves to set its Opening Day roster. We have news and notes from throughout the A's spring camp, including information on what team Henry Rodriguez was throwing with on Monday and more…

- Right-handed pitching prospect Henry Rodriguez returned to minor league camp on Monday after spending the first part of the spring up in big league camp. Rodriguez practiced with the High-A squad on Monday, a possible indication that he will start the season with Stockton. Arnold Leon, who the A's acquired out of the Mexican League this off-season, was also on the High-A roster as of Monday, along with Trevor Cahill.

- The A's sent left-handers Gio Gonzalez and Greg Smith down to minor league camp on Monday as the team continued to set their roster for the Japan trip. Both Gonzalez and Smith were impressive during their stints in big league camp and the feeling throughout the organization is that both pitchers will see time in the major leagues at some point this season. Smith was particularly impressive. The Louisiana native allowed only two runs in 13 innings this spring. He struck-out nine and walked three and allowed only nine hits. One of Smith's strikeouts came on Sunday, when he whiffed Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. The strikeout broke Hamilton's streak of 13 consecutive plate appearances during which he reached base.

- Second baseman Kevin Melillo has been slowed all spring by his sore right wrist, which he had surgically repaired during the off-season. Melillo had a cortisone shot last week and has been limited to conditioning drills and infield work since then. He was hoping to be back on the field and playing in games by mid-week.

- Some of the A's prospects who were injured at the end of last year are still working through their rehabs. Jason Windsor, Mike Mitchell, Brad Halsey, Bobby Cramer and Danny Hamblin are all absent from minor league camp due to injuries. If they are healthy enough to begin baseball activities at that time, all of them will report to extended spring training.

- Outfielder Brian Stavisky was working at first base during the A's Triple-A batting practice on Monday. Stavisky played some first base early in his career, but has mostly been in the outfield or at DH the past few seasons.

- Chris Carter and Sean Doolittle, who are both expected to start the season with High-A Stockton and share time at first base and DH, both had impressive sessions in the batting cages on Monday. The A's coaches and front office personnel have been buzzing about the power that Carter, in particular, has shown this spring and the team is excited about the improvements that Doolittle has made with the bat since Instructs.


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