New A's reliever Casilla held up by visa process

New A's reliever Casilla held up by visa process

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's are still awaiting the arrival of their newest reliever and hold out hope Santiago Casilla will be in camp "any day," manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday.

The veteran right-hander is held up in the Dominican Republic by visa paperwork that was delayed because he was a late sign, only committing to a second tour with the A's -- via a two-year, $11 million deal -- in late January.

According to Melvin, Casilla has been maintaining a throwing program at the team's academy in his home country, while also playing the role of mentor to the young players there.

"If we get into games and he's not here yet I might get a little antsy," said Melvin, whose club opens Cactus League play Saturday against the Cubs. "At this point, I'm not. I'm not worried about him. It's a long spring."

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The spring season was extended this year to accommodate the World Baseball Classic, which Casilla has committed to play for the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he would like to see Casilla throw off the mound a few times before getting him in exhibition games.

Casilla, 36, comes back to the A's after seven seasons with the Giants. He posted a 3.57 ERA with 31 saves last season, after compiling a 2.79 ERA and a career-high 38 saves in 2015.

Worth noting

• Oakland's 2016 first-round Draft pick, left-hander A.J. Puk, "threw the ball really well" in his first live batting practice, Melvin noted.

"He had quite a crowd around his cage, too, which, when you're a young kid, you tend to notice that," he said, "and I thought he responded to that pretty well. He's been impressive here."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.