Injuries have hit the Oakland A's system relatively hard this season, as some of the team's top prospects have struggled to stay on the field. We recently caught-up with A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman to find out the status of some of these injured prospects.
2007 first-round picks and top prospects Sean Doolittle and Corey Brown have both been handed set-backs with their recoveries from knee injuries. Doolittle has been out since mid-May with a tear in his patella tendon, while Brown has struggled with knee pain on and off all season and hasn't played in a game for Double-A Midland since July 3. According to Lieppman, both are going to be sidelined for at least the next two or three weeks.
The news is also not good for relief prospect Andrew Carignan. Carignan has missed much of the season with a right forearm strain. He recently made two appearances (his only appearances this season) with the High-A Stockton Ports, but was shut-down after walking three in two innings. He is on the DL and, according to Lieppman, won't return to the field for at least two to three weeks.
Starting pitching prospect Fautino De Los Santos also suffered a set-back in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. According to Lieppman, he experienced soreness after his last outing and is considered day-to-day. De Los Santos is roughly 14 months removed from his surgery.
Prospect Michael Ynoa is listed on the 60-day disabled list for the AZL A's. Ynoa experienced tendonitis in his pitching elbow and, while it doesn't appear that it will require surgery, the A's are going to be cautious with his recovery. If Ynoa's rehab goes perfectly, according to Lieppman, he could pitch for the AZL A's the final week of the season. If there are set-backs, then he will mostly likely not pitch until the A's US or Dominican Instructional League seasons.
Right-hander Mike Mitchell, who has valiantly tried to come back from a torn labrum in his right shoulder that he suffered the spring of 2007, had his time with the A's come to an end last week. Mitchell was released by Oakland last Tuesday. He had thrown one scoreless inning for the AZL A's last Monday. Mitchell was an Arizona Fall League Rising Star in 2006, the same season that he also made the California League All-Star team.
Lieppman also mentioned that shortstop Nino Leyja's time in Kane County should be relatively short. Leyja was sent to Kane County from Vancouver to fill in for an injury-strapped Cougars ballclub that was missing infielders Michael Spina, Matt Ray and Dusty Coleman, as well as outfielder Franklin Hernandez and catcher Juan Nunez. Coleman and Hernandez have returned from their leg injuries, while Spina is still a few days away from game action. He was hit in the head by a pitch last week. Ray is out with a broken hand and Nunez is out with a knee injury.
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