Oakland A's MiLB Spring Notebook: March 16th

We were at Papago Park for the Oakland A's minor league spring training practice on Monday. Inside are a few notes that we picked up during the day…

- A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman told us that catcher Jake Smith has elected to retire. The East Carolina alum missed much of the 2007 season and some of the 2008 campaign recovering from a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He hit .282 in 2008 in 81 games for Low-A Kane County and Rookie League Arizona.

- Lieppman also noted that the team had released right-hander Kevin Bunch, who was never able to get healthy since being drafted by the A's out of high school in 2005. Bunch struggled with a myriad of injuries, including problems with both of his hips.

- Outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Grant Desme are nursing minor injuries. Barfield strained a hamstring during an outfield fielding drill early in camp, while Desme strained a rib cage muscle swinging a bat. Both are expected to be back at full strength in the next week or so.

- Outfielder Matt Sulentic hasn't arrived in Phoenix for spring training yet. The former Dallas high school star is fully recovered from the broken forearm that he suffered during the last month of the 2008 season, but he was beset by an illness that caused him to lose 25 pounds this off-season. The A's wanted Sulentic to regain all of the weight before he reported to camp. He is expected to be in camp in a week or so, but the set-back could keep him at extended spring training for the first few weeks of the season.

- First baseman Franklin Hernandez, who had a strong season for Rookie League Arizona last season, was delayed getting to camp with visa issues, but he arrived on Sunday and was participating in camp on Monday.

- Yusuf Carter, who was taken by the A's in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft out of the Chicago Cubs' organization, has been moved behind the plate. Carter, the nephew of former Blue Jays' World Series hero Joe Carter, was an outfielder in the Cubs' chain.

- Dana Eveland will pitch in a minor league spring game on Wednesday. The A's big league squad has the day off, but the team will have Eveland throw on Wednesday at Papago to keep him on schedule.

- Mike Mitchell and Mike Madsen are both in Phoenix and working out at the A's minor league complex even though they aren't officially participating in spring training. Both are completing rehabs of arm injuries. They are going to start the season at extended spring training.

- The A's sent eight players to minor league camp on Monday: Ryan Webb, Jeff Baisley, Eric Patterson, Kevin Cameron, James Simmons, Jerome Williams, Joe Dillon and Sean Doolittle.

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