A's Spring Notes: Early Impressions

With the camp days officially over and the spring training game schedule upon us, we get an update on the health of some key Oakland A's players, as well as some early impressions of some of the A's younger players in major league camp.

Health Update

One of the first orders of business for the A's when position players arrived in camp was to get a handle on where Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis stand in their rehab from shoulder surgeries.

Third baseman Chavez, who had surgery in August on his right shoulder, is a little ahead of Ellis. He's scheduled to miss the first week of games and get into action on or about March 3, according to team trainer Steve Sayles. That gives him more than a month's worth of games.

Ellis had his right shoulder cleaned up and the labrum repaired in September, and he will not play in the field until the final week of March, making his first appearance at second base no earlier than March 25. That still gives him more than a week of games.

That does not preclude Ellis from being the designated hitter in games, however. He's swinging the bat pain-free and taking batting practice with the rest of the regulars.

Ellis also can get as many at-bats as he'd like in minor league games. Ellis said he only needs 30-35 at-bats to be ready for the season, and he's looking at doing that with ease.

As long as Ellis is pain-free when he throws, the defensive part should come easily.

Daric Barton, the second-year first baseman, had hip surgery in October and he's somewhat limited when it comes to running, although he can do all other baseball activity. It hasn't been decided if he'll be held out of the early games because of the hip, but with a seven-week spring, that wouldn't be too much of an issue.

Right-hander Henry Rodriguez is the only player in camp held completely out of workouts. Rodriguez recently had a setback following hernia surgery in December.

Early Camp Impressions

Although it is too early to really gauge how players are performing, there have been a few players who have been notably impressive early in camp for the A's. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, Ryan Webb and Andrew Bailey have both looked good throwing batting practice, while reigning Texas League Pitcher of the Year Vince Mazzaro has been throwing his trademark sinker down in the 'zone.

At the plate, Lieppman has been impressed with top position prospect Chris Carter's power in batting practice. During the 2008 season, Carter routinely hit balls completely out of the ballpark during BP. He hit 39 regular season homeruns for Stockton in 2008. Lieppman also noted that A's big off-season acquisition Matt Holliday has been swinging the bat very well and "is the obvious star."

Travis Buck has looked strong after undergoing an intensive off-season work-out program, according to Lieppman. Buck had an injury-riddled 2008 season after making a strong impression in the major leagues in 2007. Top A's infield prospect Adrian Cardenas has been held out of some drills with a sore back, but Lieppman expects him to be fine. He is listed as day-to-day.

It was also announced earlier this week that top A's international free agent signing Michael Inoa will be using the traditional spelling of his last name -- Ynoa -- moving forward.

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