A's encouraged by progress of prospect Ynoa

A's encouraged by progress of prospect Ynoa

OAKLAND -- Right-hander Michael Ynoa, one of the most highly regarded prospects in the A's system, appears to finally be on the right track since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2010.

According to A's director of player development Keith Lieppman, Ynoa threw a bullpen session in the Dominican Republic on Monday and is scheduled to take part in another on Friday. Barring any setbacks, he could land in a game prior to the end of the Dominican Instructional League on Dec. 2.

"He is free and easy with no problems," said Lieppman, who watched Ynoa's session. "So far, so good."

It's welcome news for the A's, who signed the Dominican to a then-record $4.25 million bonus in 2008, when he was just 16 years old. At the time, he was projected to be in the big leagues by age 20, but that birthday came and went in September.

The injury-prone Ynoa has as many 60-day disabled-list stints in his career as he does professional appearances (three) and has just nine innings in the Arizona Rookie League to his name. He will be eligible for the 2012 Rule 5 Draft if he's not a member of Oakland's 40-man roster at that time, but the A's are hoping he can reclaim his stock before then.

Lieppman said Ynoa is likely to start the 2012 season at extended spring training before being sent to Class A Vermont.