PHOENIX — Edgar Gonzalez was a late arrival to A's camp, but he'll be right in the thick of the competition for the fifth starter's spot, according to manager Bob Geren.
Gonzalez arrived at Papago Park Baseball Complex on Friday morning and was getting his bearings after being delayed by visa problems in Mexico.
The right-hander, a nonroster invitee to spring training after spending parts of the past six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, has been on the A's radar for some time.
"I know we always admired his work from afar," Geren said. "We had an opportunity to sign him, and I'm happy we did."
Gonzalez made it to the majors in 2003 at age 20, the youngest pitcher in the big leagues at the time. He's seen sporadic time in the majors since then, with a 14-21 career record and 5.97 ERA in 80 games (35 starts).
But he pitched in the Mexican Pacific League this winter and caught the A's attention in the Caribbean Series, where he threw seven shutout innings against Venezuela.
Gonzalez, who turns 26 on Monday, said he was simply a hard thrower relying on a fastball and slider early in his career.
"I can't tell you it was bad, but my first three years in the big leagues were up and down," he said. "I feel more mature. I didn't have too many pitches before."
He's since added a curveball and changeup.
Geren said Gonzalez will get regular work once Cactus League games begin. He also
Most sports fans will hear Alcorn State and think of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair. But in 2005, the Braves produced a standout baseball player in Corey Wimberly.
The A's acquired the speedy utility player from the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Matt Murton on Feb. 4. Wimberly spent the past two seasons at Double-A, leading the Texas League in stolen bases each year.
He played mostly second base and shortstop in the minors but also feels comfortable in the outfield.
The A's emphasized speed in 2008 more so than in past seasons, which could work in Wimberly's favor as he tries to turn heads.
"(Speed) is supposed to be one of those things that's coming back in the game," Wimberly said. "I'm excited to be blessed with it."
Nonroster catcher Joel Galarraga, the only player who hasn't reported, is expected in camp today. ... Right-hander Michael Inoa, considered the top prospect in Latin America when the A's signed him last summer, is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix on March 9 and will stay four or five days for an orientation. Inoa, 17, will return April 9 for extended spring training. And according to A's director of player development Keith Lieppman, Inoa will start going by the original spelling of his last name, "Ynoa." Somewhere along the line, there was a mixup on the spelling, and the pitcher's name made its way into the public forum with an "I."
— Joe Stiglich