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A’s send Mortensen, De Los Santos, Figueroa to minors; Rule 5 pitcher Cassevah offered back to Angels

I’m still getting back in the groove after returning from the Bay Area, but it’s hard not to notice the A’s clubhouse is less crowded these days. Ten players were sent to the minors yesterday, and three more got sent down this morning — pitchers Clayton Mortensen, Fautino De Los Santos and Pedro Figueroa. Mortensen was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento while De Los Santos and Figueroa were optioned to Double-A Midland. The A’s can still change their minds about what minor league club each starts the season with, but this setup sounds right for all three considering their development.

Geren had good things to say about all three. De Los Santos is starting his first full season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he had a couple of rough outings in Cactus League games. Figueroa, a lefty, pitched at Single-A last season and earned Organizational Pitcher of the Year honors.

“They both have a mid-90′s fastball with movement and seem to be mentally tough individuals,” Geren said.

As for Mortensen, Geren wants him to improve in holding runners on base.

–Rule 5 pitcher Bobby Cassevah was offered back to the Angels this morning. No word yet if the Angels will take him back. Quick refresher on this somewhat confusing topic: The A’s selected Cassevah from the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December, paying $50,000 for his rights. He either had to stay on the A’s 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Angels for $25,000. If the Angels don’t take him back, the A’s retain his rights and can send him to the minors.

–Jake Fox, who homered yesterday to halt a spring slump, gets a start in left field today against Cincinnati. This guy has bounced all over the diamond, no surprise since versatility is his calling card. But Geren said he’s most curious to see how Fox handles his catching duties. That’s the spot he’s played the least in the past three seasons.

–Ben Sheets, Jason Jennings and Henry Rodriguez are three notables who take the mound today. Here’s the rest of the A’s lineup:

Rajai CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Kouzmanoff 3B
Sweeney RF
Cust DH
Barton 1B
Fox LF
Rosales SS

Sheets

Joe Stiglich