Notes: Halama, Johnson released
Moves make way for waiver signings
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com WorldSeries.com
John Halama went 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA for the A's in 2003. (Ben Margot/AP)
OAKLAND -- The A's released left-handed pitcher John Halama and catcher Mark Johnson on Thursday to make room for two former New York Mets signed off of waivers.
Oakland added infielder Marco Scutaro and outfielder Matt Watson to the 40-man roster.
Scutaro, 27, predominantly a second baseman, appeared in 48 games with New York in 2003 and batted .213 with two home runs and six RBIs in two stints with the Mets last season. The Venezuela native also played in 70 games for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate at Norfolk, where he batted .311 with nine home runs, 32 RBI and 33 walks for a .401 on-base percentage.
Watson, 24, made his Major League debut in September and went 4-for-23 (.174) with two RBIs in 15 games. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Norfolk where he batted .295 and led the team with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Both Halama and Johnson made the A's out of Spring Training in March, but were disappointments.
Halama started 2003 as Oakland's fifth starter after signing as a free agent from Seattle, but lost that role after struggling through April and May with a 2-4 record and a 4.79 ERA. He made four spot starts throughout the rest of the season, but was primarily a long-reliever for the A's.
With Rich Harden and Ted Lilly likely to be back next season, the A's already have five solid starters, leaving no room for Halama, who preferred to start.
Johnson, acquired in the trade that brought Keith Foulke to Oakland in exchange for Billy Koch, started the 2003 season as Oakland's backup catcher. But after struggling at the plate with a .111 average in 13 games, he was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on May 30, where he remained until being called up in September.
He hit .228 with three homers and 30 RBIs in 51 games for the River Cats.
Adam Melhuse, who replaced Johnson as Oakland's backup catcher, hit .299 in 40 games with the A's, and the club hopes to improve his defensive skills in the offseason. Melhuse's success may have made Johnson expendable.
Guillen surgery successful: Jose Guillen underwent surgery to repair the broken hamate bone in his left hand on Wednesday and will remain in the Bay Area to rehab the injury.
The A's have a window of exclusive rights to negotiate with Guillen, a free agent, something that the outfielder hopes results in a deal that keeps him in the East Bay.
"I thank Billy Beane for this good opportunity to show people I can play and that I'm a good player," he said. "It was great being able to come everyday to the ballpark and have a position."