A Family Reunion In Oakland System

Josh Lansford throws a bullpen session at Papago.

The Oakland A's have had a recent history of reuniting families within the organization. The Richard and Doolittle brothers currently play in the A's system, while the Street and Crosby brothers were with the A's in the past. Now there is a new family reunion in the system, as the A's have signed the older brother of Jared Lansford - Josh - to a Kane County contract.

When Josh Lansford was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, the plan was for the South Bay native to follow in his father's footsteps as a third-baseman. Lansford, now a pitcher, won't be following former AL batting champion and A's star Carney Lansford's path at the hotcorner, but he could be following his dad's road to the Oakland Coliseum. Lansford officially became a part of the Oakland A's organization this week when he inked a Kane County contract with the team. He joins his younger brother Jared, who is one of the A's top relief prospects.

Josh Lansford signed with the A's after working out for the team over the weekend at Papago Park. Although he has signed a Kane County contract, there is no guarantee that he will join the Cougars this season. The A's will be evaluating Lansford's progress as the spring winds down, according to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman.

Lansford began his career in the Cubs' chain as a third-baseman after a solid collegiate career at Cal-Poly. He came into professional baseball with a reputation for being a top-notch defensive third-baseman with a strong throwing arm. Offensively, Lansford never got on-track as a pro. His best season at the plate came in 2007 when he hit .273 for Low-A Peoria. He missed the final six weeks of the 2007 season with an injured MCL, but was invited to play in the Arizona Fall League that off-season. He hit .257 for the Solar Sox that year.

The Cubs jumped Lansford to High-A at the start of the 2008 season. In 61 games, he hit .249 with a 606 OPS before being promoted to Double-A Tennessee, where he hit .236 with a 616 OPS in 48 games. It was after that season that the Cubs and Lansford agreed to utilize his strong arm on the mound rather than at the hot corner. Lansford spent the 2008 Instructional League season working on pitching and continued that learning process at extended spring training in 2009.

At the start of the 2009 short-season, Lansford was sent to Boise in the Northwest League, where he was one of the Hawks regular relievers. In 22 appearances, Lansford had a 3.51 ERA and he struck-out 22 and walked 15 in 33.1 innings.

Lansford will have plenty of help within the A's organization as he continues his transition with Oakland. His younger brother Jared has been a member of the A's organization since 2005, when he was a second-round pick. The younger Lansford has had a successful minor league career with the A's, posting a career 3.52 ERA in 119 appearances. Jared had a 2.36 ERA in 36 appearances for Double-A Midland last season, helping the Rockhounds win the Texas League championship. Jared was a non-roster invitee to major league spring training in 2009 and was a member of the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the 2008 Arizona Fall League.

Josh Lansford will also be able to get advice from legendary A's right-hander Dave Stewart, who acts as an agent for both Josh and Jared. Stewart spent time in the A's spring training camp this year, working with the team's young pitchers.

Incidentally, Josh isn't the only Lansford to join the A's this year. Carney Lansford, who was let-go as the San Francisco Giants' hitting coach this off-season, signed on to be a part of the A's television broadcast team this season.

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