Oakland A's MLN: Injury Updates

Oakland A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman was in Stockton this weekend to get a first-hand look at the Ports. We caught-up with Lieppman on Saturday and got some updates on a variety of injured players in the A's system, including a status report on right-hander Fautino De Los Santos.

* The big injury news coming out of Phoenix is that right-hander Fautino De Los Santos could be heading towards surgery on his right elbow. The hard-throwing starting pitcher, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Nick Swisher trade this off-season, is going to visit Dr. Lewis Yokum to get his right elbow looked at this week, according to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman. There is a strong possibility that De Los Santos will require surgery, which could sideline him until early next year. De Los Santos made five starts for the Stockton Ports this season. He had a 5.87 ERA with 26 strike-outs in 23 innings.

* Midland right-hander James Simmons is suffering from "dead arm," according to Lieppman. Simmons isn't experiencing any pain in his right shoulder, but his velocity has been down. He will miss at least one start and then be re-evaluated. "He is throwing the ball well, but he just isn't getting the velocity he was last year," Lieppman said. "He is experiencing a full season of throwing for the first time and there are changes that take place in the arm when guys adjust to that schedule."

* The injury news is not good for two of the A's top outfield prospects. Javier Herrera continues to be sidelined with problems with his hamstring. According to Lieppman, Herrera still has a 20 to 30 percent weakness in one of his hamstrings and is probably at least six weeks from returning to game action. Desme, the A's fourth pick last season, has been sidelined with wrist and shoulder problems this season. He had wrist surgery in the off-season and injured his shoulder diving for a ball in spring training. He is rehabbing at home and is awhile away from returning.

* Dan Hamblin, a 10th round pick of the A's last season, is getting closer to returning to the field. Hamblin is playing at extended spring training. The A's were working on converting Hamblin from first to third, but he is expected to play first base when he does return. "We didn't have much time to work with him in instructional leagues [at third base] because he got hurt, so he hasn't had many reps over there yet," Lieppman said.

* Shane Komine and Chris Gissell have both completed their rehabs and are back with the River Cats after rehabbing shoulder injuries in Phoenix for the first six weeks of the season. Both are expected to pitch out of the bullpen for Sacramento. "Having them come out of the bullpen was the fastest way to get them back on the field," Lieppman said. Former Sacramento ace Jason Windsor is continuing his rehab in Phoenix and is now throwing simulated games. Reliever Mike Mitchell hit a minor set-back in his recovery from surgery on his right labrum, but the team is still hoping to see him back before the end of the year.

* 2007 draft pick Lee Land announced his retirement on Saturday morning, according to Lieppman. The team has also released right-handed pitcher Bryan Collins.

* Lieppman indicated that 2007 draft-and-follow signee Dante Love has had an impressive extended spring training stint. "He has really improved his receiving skills behind the plate," Lieppman said. Love is expected to share catching duties with Juan Nunez, who is currently with High-A Stockton, at short-season Vancouver later in the season. Raul Padron, who is completing his 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, is expected to rejoin the Ports at the end of his suspension. Padron spent all of the 2007 season with Stockton and hit well in the Arizona Fall League last off-season.

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