Oakland A's Notes: Down Goes Brown

The Oakland A's spring bullpen competition saw a change in direction on Wednesday, as reliever Andrew Brown revealed that he would be missing the first part of the season with a bum shoulder. Brown missed most of last year with injuries. We look at the implications of Brown's injury and reveal the scheduled arrival for Michael Inoa in the United States.

Brown To Undergo Shoulder Surgery

Right-hander reliever Andrew Brown missed most of last season with a variety of ailments, and the 2009 season is looking like much of the same. Brown, who was sidelined for the season in late July with shoulder soreness, revealed on Tuesday to the San Francisco Chronicle that he was scheduled for shoulder surgery and would miss the start of the season.

Brown was expected to compete for one of three or four open spots in the A's bullpen this spring. The two-year veteran was thought to have an inside track on one of those spots, as he was out of options. His early season absence opens the door for a number of competitors for that spot, including 40-man roster members Chris Schroder, Jeff Gray and Henry Rodriguez and non-roster players Kevin Cameron, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Carignan and Jared Lansford. Schroder is the only member of this group with significant major league experience (a little more than one season). Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler and Jerry Blevins appear to be the only locks to make the A's bullpen at the moment.

The A's are also believed to be close to signing veteran reliever Russ Springer, who would likely fill that sixth or seventh inning role against right-handers that Brown handled for part of last season. Springer spent the past two years with the St. Louis Cardinals, posting ERAs of 2.18 and 2.32, respectively. Springer is a 16-year veteran with more than 650 career major league appearances.

Inoa's US Debut Date Set

According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, 16-year-old phenom Michael Inoa will arrive in the US for extended spring training in April. Lieppman, who is currently at the A's academy in the Dominican Republic, also indicated that high-profile Latin prospects Robin Rosario and Omar Duran will join Inoa in the States for extended spring training.

Inoa was signed by the A's to a record-breaking $4.25 million signing bonus this past July 2nd. He was widely considered to be the top amateur free agent available in the international market his past year. Inoa recently participated in the A's Dominican Instructional League camp and didn't allow a run in 8.2 innings.

Rosario and Duran were also signed to significant bonuses this past year. Both participated in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and could debut with the A's Rookie League team in Arizona if they compete well at extended spring.

Korach To Remain Through At Least 2011

The A's announced earlier this week that they had signed long-time radio play-by-play announcer Ken Korach to a two-year extension. The extension takes Korach through the 2011 season. He has been with the A's for 14 seasons, having taken over for Lon Simmons in 1996.

The A's will be on a new radio station once again this year, this time landing on KTRB 860 AM on the dial.


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