As for the starting rotation, it remained just as it was when they arrived.
"It was certainly not as productive as you made it out (being) for us," assistant general manager David Forst said of the meetings. "(General manager Billy Beane) made it clear that this is not the most conducive place to get things done, so we're looking forward to getting back to the office and conducting our business there and seeing what develops."
The A's were rumored to be shopping starting pitchers Dan Haren and Joe Blanton when they came to the meetings, a notion Beane downplayed during his time here. Industry sources have indicated the A's remain intrigued by a possible deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that might net outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez, but Forst said nothing is imminent. Beane said Wednesday the A's may be leaning toward keeping the team intact.
One new addition in 2008 could be right-handed pitcher Fernando Hernandez, whom the A's plucked from the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 draft. Hernandez had a 3.06 ERA in 60 relief appearances last season at Double-A Birmingham in the Southern League, where opponents hit only .230 against him.
Hernandez, 23, also stood out in the Arizona Fall League, tossing 12ª scoreless innings, striking out 11 and holding
"His fastball is a little funky, high 80s, low 90s, but his stuff is good, and he throws everything for strikes," said Chris Pittaro, the A's national field coordinator who saw a lot of Hernandez during the Fall League season.
"But his makeup really stood out," Pittaro said. "Everybody who saw him liked the way he conducted himself on the mound, and that impressed us. When you turn on the lights at this level, it's a little bit of a different atmosphere. But the way he handles himself, there's no reason to think he'll be fazed."
Hernandez must remain on the A's 25-man roster for the entire 2008 season or be offered back to the White Sox for $25,000. A year ago, the A's chose Jay Marshall and kept him on the roster all season, only to lose him to the Boston Red Sox on a waiver claim in October.
On Thursday, the A's got Marshall back by grabbing him off waivers from the Red Sox. Marshall, 24, was 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA in 51 outings.
"When they claimed him in October, we had a pretty good sense they wouldn't be able to keep him," Forst said. "We've been waiting to see when they were going to have to clear some roster spots."
Manager Bob Geren said it's possible third baseman Eric Chavez could miss the start of spring training after undergoing three offseason surgeries. Chavez had procedures on his back, left shoulder and right shoulder. Geren said he expects the rest of the A's who dealt with injuries -- a list that includes pitchers Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, and Kiko Calero; shortstop Bobby Crosby; and outfielders Travis Buck and Mark Kotsay -- to be ready to go. ... Before leaving the meetings, Geren said the A's will fly "15 to 18" players to their Papago Park training facility in Phoenix on Dec. 11 for a two-day evaluation. The move is part of the A's approach to reducing injuries, Geren said, and will allow the team to gauge more accurately medical, strength and nutritional programs. ... The A's did not lose any players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, but infielders Luke Appert (Philadelphia) and Brant Colamarino (Toronto) and right-handed pitcher Ben Fritz (Detroit) were selected in the minor league portion.
-- Rick Hurd