OAKLAND -- Scouting director Eric Kubota spewed the typical lines Tuesday as he answered questions regarding expectations for first-round draft pick James Simmons.

The A's, Kubota said, hope only that Simmons "gets a lot of guys out," that his main responsibility should be "to get his feet wet," and that he'll be with the big club "as soon as he's ready."

The actions of Kubota's club, though, seem to speak to a vision that's more grand than usual. The A's signed their 26th overall pick Tuesday, then set the bar high by assigning him to Double-A Midland.

"He's very advanced for his age," Kubota said of Simmons, who was 11-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 17 starts during his junior season for UC Riverside. "He has the fastball command to compete at that level. That's his strength."

According to the Associated Press, Simmons' signing bonus was $1,192,500.

Simmons made an appearance at McAfee Coliseum along with his parents before Tuesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds and said he realizes the rare company he'll keep by starting at such a high level. He said his primary objective will be to improve his breaking pitches and changeup.

"I know I've got a lot of hard work ahead of me," he said. "... There's very few guys who get to (start at Double-A), and I feel very privileged to be able to do so."

Exactly how he'll be used in Midland will be a work in progress.

Simmons, who pitched 123 innings for the Highlanders in 2007 -- striking out 116 and walking just 15 -- probably will start out in the bullpen, but Kubota wouldn't rule out an eventual move to the rotation.


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He also said the A's will be "very conservative," in how Simmons is used.

"I've had three weeks off, so I feel I could go out there tonight," Simmons said.

The A's also reached agreement with compensation pick Corey Brown, an outfielder from Oklahoma State, and outfielder Raymond Rodriguez, a 24th-round pick out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

The injury report

Manager Bob Geren said pitcher Rich Harden is scheduled to throw one inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento tonight. Harden has not pitched in a game since leaving with shoulder tightness during a start against the New York Yankees on April 15. Milton Bradley (strained right calf) is back with the team after a two-game rehab stint at Sacramento, and Geren said the latest that the outfielder will be activated from the disabled list is Friday. Outfielder Bobby Kielty (strained calf) took batting practice and is slated to begin his rehab work with the A's rookie league team in Arizona on Friday. Reliever Justin Duchscherer (hip) took a day off from his throwing program but will resume it today. He said as soon as he can throw full distance (180 feet) in his long toss, he will go on a rehab assignment.

Short hops

Catcher Kurt Suzuki got his second start since coming up from Sacramento. "I like what I've seen from him so far," Geren said. ... The A's have played 45 consecutive series of three or more games without being swept, the second-longest stretch in Oakland history. They need six more such series to match the mark set from 1988-89. The Arizona Diamondbacks were the last team to sweep the A's, doing so June 30-July 2 of last season. ... The A's extended their player-development contract with Single-A Stockton through 2010.

-- Rick Hurd