The Oakland A's recalled AAA reliever Santiago Casilla who had 29 strikeouts in 24 innings with the AAA River Cats. If you've been speculating on closers for long enough, you may remember him as Jario Garcia the "21-year-old" who broke on to the major league scene in August 2004 after a meteoric rise from High A in which he struck out 102 batters in 61.2 innings. Despite a horrendous 5.2 inning stint with the A's where he walked 9 and gave-up 3 HRs, he was now a future closer.
Unfortunately for Garcia nee Casilla, he was surpassed by 2004 1st round selection, Huston Street, the moment Street made the A's out of Spring Training. Soon after A's closer Octavio Dotel went on the D.L. Street took over, and Gracia nee Casilla was an after thought. Despite this, he continued his sick strikeout rates in AA and AAA by striking out 103 over 65 innings of work.
In the off-season that followed, news broke that Garcia was really Casilla and more stunning, he was three years older than previously believed. That 21-year-old in 2004 was really 24 years of age. With Street entrenched at closer, any shine was lost as Casilla was now a 25-year-old reliever in AAA.
His 2006 season was less impressive as he was able to strikeout just 32 in 33 innings of work. Even a brief stint in the majors went poorly as he allowed three earned runs in 2.1 innings. There is no reason for anyone to believe in the player who rose so quickly in 2004.
Except the bullpen is unsettled in Oakland with Huston Street on the D.L. Could the star have turned for Casilla? Will he receive the chance to fulfill that promise that was so bright in August 2004?