The Oakland A's made a big move today by signing pitcher Ben Sheets to a one-year, $10 million contract.
The 31-year-old pitcher missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing elbow surgery for a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Prior to that injury in 2008, Sheets went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers. The four-time All-Star has a career ERA of 3.72 with 1,206 strikeouts.
During a press conference held at the Oakland Coliseum, A’s general manager Billy Beane stated the importance of having a veteran like Sheets around the young pitching staff of Oakland.
Acknowledging the possible impact he may have with the young pitchers, Sheets admitted he might have to depend on them as well.
"American League is a new league for me," said Sheets. "So I'm going to lean on them as much as they are going to lean on me."
An obvious concern regarding the pitcher is the status of his health. During a throwing session in Louisiana, clubs in attendance were impressed. Beane was clear about how pleased he was with the results of Sheets’ physical.
Another concern is Sheets’ season-long absence. After missing all of 2009, there will always be questions looming about the possibility of returning to form.
"I'm excited to get back to the routine,” Sheets said. “I'm pretty sure that when they get up there, that all my instincts and what I've learned in the past will come back. I'm not really nervous about getting back out there. I'm just ready to go."
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