OAKLAND -- The A's took care of one of several roster decisions looming on their agenda this winter, releasing veteran reliever Michael Wuertz on Tuesday rather than picking up his $3.25 million option for the 2012 season.
The move was made to create a 40-man roster spot for the incoming arrivals of right-hander Evan Scribner and outfielder Cedric Hunter, whom the A's claimed off waivers from the Padres.
The 32-year-old Wuertz, an eight-year veteran, was one of the top setup men in the American League in 2009, when he went 6-1 with a 2.63 ERA and a career-high 102 strikeouts in a team-leading 74 appearances for the A's. But the wear and tear suffered during that season had lingering effects on his 2010 and '11 performances.
Wuertz endured three disabled list stints during that span, including twice this past season, after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $5.25 million. Plagued by thumb issues, he made just 39 appearances in 2011, posting a 6.68 ERA and .280 opponents batting average. He struck out 32, but also walked 26 in 33 2/3 innings.
Those numbers made Tuesday's news rather unsurprising, as his option wasn't expected to be picked up, anyway. He was the only A's member holding a club option for 2012, though five players are to become free agents and 10 are arbitration-eligible.
Scribner enjoyed two stints with San Diego this year, compiling a 7.07 ERA in 10 appearances, but spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Tucson, where he tallied 10 saves and a 4.71 ERA in 28 games before suffering a strained right shoulder in late July that ultimately ended his season.
According to assistant general manager David Forst, Scribner is currently taking part in a throwing program in Arizona and is expected to be fully recovered by the start of Spring Training.
Like Scribner, Hunter also watched his season end prematurely because of injury, as he was placed on the disabled list July 17 with a strained right groin and proceeded to miss the remainder of the year. However, he's now "100 percent" healthy, Forst said.
Cracking the Padres' Opening Day roster, Hunter made his Major League debut and collected one hit in four at-bats before being optioned April 9 to Tucson, where he hit .255 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 81 games.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.