Rule 5 Pick Bobby Cassevah Set To Sink Or Swim With A's

OAKLAND—When the pressure builds to white heat, righthander Bobby Cassevah wants to hear his name echoing through the stadium. The 24-year-old wants the ball in those tough situations when one pitch could make the difference between winning and losing.

In selecting him in the big league Rule 5 draft, the Athletics intend to give the 6-foot-3 Cassevah that chance. He'll compete for a bullpen job this spring, making for a welcome opportunity after not advancing past Double-A with the Angels.

"I'm real excited about it," Cassevah said. "They obviously see something in me. Hopefully, it will be a change for the better. I had a good five years with the Angels and I enjoyed the organization."

Cassevah has a unique perspective on his role. Most pitchers view their jobs either as starter, closer or bullpen filler. Not Cassevah.

"I love it. I love being the set-up guy. I love coming into the game with guys on base—then throw a sinker and let them ground out." said an enthusiastic Cassevah, who last year compiled an excellent 4.03 groundout-to-flyout ratio with Double-A Arkansas.  

"With guys in scoring position, I really close the door. I like the pressure being on me. I like going in and helping the team win the game."

Cassevah went 3-7, 3.68 in 57 appearances for the Travelers, compiling a 45-to-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 73 innings. A's scout Randy Johnson watched him closely and believes he has massive potential.

"He has one of the better sinkers he's seen," farm director Keith Lieppman said. "Randy said he commands the lower half of the zone."

Once considered a potential high draft pick, Cassevah injured his elbow while playing quarterback for the Pace (Fla.) High football team and needed Tommy John surgery. Thus he was unable to pitch his senior season.

He passed on a scholarship at Louisiana State to sign with the Angels in 2004 as a 34th-round pick. He debuted with a restricted workload the following year and spent two full years in Rookie ball.

In an ironic twist, the Angels' patience with Cassevah could turn into a reward for the division-rival A's.


• To make room for Cassevah on the 40-man roster, the A's released righthander Santiago Cassilla. Opponents hit .303 against him last year, contributing to a 5.96 ERA over 46 appearances for Oakland.

• Righthander Michael Ynoa, 18, made three appearances in Dominican instructional league and touched 94 mph. He missed much of the regular season with a sore arm.