LeVier Back Where He Started

One of the more unfortunate injuries in the Oakland A's system in 2009 was when Kane County outfielder Mitchell LeVier injured his elbow in a pitching appearance during a blowout. LeVier had Tommy John surgery and missed more than a year. The Fullerton College alum is back with the Cougars, however, and is looking to make up for lost time.

When Kane County outfielder Myrio Richard suffered an ankle injury, the door opened for Mitchell LeVier. Richard was placed on the disabled list, and LeVier was given a promotion to a familiar place.

Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, but that's something LeVier knows better than anyone. In May of 2009, LeVier, then a member of the Cougars, suffered an elbow injury, and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.

The devastating injury took 14 months for LeVier to fully recover, but he is finally back where he left off, and, more than a year later, he's ready to continue as a Cougar.

"It feels good [to be back]," LeVier said. "Last year, I left on a negative note, so it feels good to be back where I was at."

When LeVier was injured in 2009, it brought an unfortunate end to a great opportunity. Now, he's back to full health and is taking advantage of a second chance.

"From my standpoint, I just wanted to get back to 100% and be able to get back on the field and play again," LeVier said. "Something happens in this game [when you] play 142 games all year. Myrio rolls his ankle, but I'm sure after that, he'll be back out here playing soon."

In 2009, LeVier hit .246 with 18 RBIs in his one month with Kane County before suffering the injury. After the long rehabilitation process, LeVier was sent to Vancouver. He joined the team for five games in Boise, but was quickly promoted to Kane County. LeVier's return to Kane County has been successful through his first eight games. As a Cougar, he's hitting .364 with a home run and eight RBIs.

LeVier was a standout at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, before being selected by Oakland with their 9th-round selection in the 2008 draft. LeVier moved quickly to Kane County after being drafted.

The outfielder showed great promise before undergoing surgery, but now that he's back to full health, Cougars hitting coach Haas Pratt expects more of the same success from LeVier.

"[He'll be] better from where he left off," Pratt said. "I know Mitch is a good player and they wouldn't have sent him up here if he wasn't ready to go."

Pratt worked closely with LeVier during the 2009 season before his injury. Though LeVier played just a month with the Cougars in '09, Pratt is well aware of the potential that his highly touted outfielder brings to the table.

"He plays hard, goes about his business the right way," Pratt said. "I heard he's been swinging the bat pretty well. Hopefully he brings that up here and helps us drive in some runs and be an all-around player like I know he is."

Richard's injury is not expected to be a serious setback. He is expected back within the next week, which will create competition for playing time in the outfield. With LeVier added to the roster, the Cougars outfield will consist of five talented players: Rashun Dixon, Tyreace House, Jose Crisotomo and the injured Richard. While Richard is down, LeVier will be looking to take advantage of his chance to prove himself.

"[The key is to] just be able to give yourself opportunities, then succeed on your opportunities," LeVier said. "Just let everything else happen. Let the manager make a decision on who's in everyday, then go with it."

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