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Ynoa more than just a throw-in to Sox

SAN DIEGO -- While Jeff Samardzija was the focus of Tuesday's trade between the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics, he was not the only asset the White Sox received.

Also obtained in the deal was right-hander Michael Ynoa, a pitcher once believed to be headed for stardom only to run into injuries, such as Tommy John surgery in 2010, that have derailed his development.

Consider Ynoa (pronounced IN-oh-uh) the longer-term project in the deal and a piece the White Sox can keep if Samardzija decides to leave via free agency after the 2015 season.

The 6-foot-7, 210-pounder is a reliever now, no longer being looked at as the next Felix Hernandez, as he was when the A's signed him as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008 for a $4.25 million signing bonus. If he can get his health issues in order, he could be able to dominate out of the bullpen one day.

"He's a guy with a multipitch mix," manager Robin Ventura said. "He has a plus fastball and a plus slider and a feel for two other pitches as well. We think he’s taken to the transition to the bullpen well, and we certainly believe that's his long-term future. But it's a big arm and a guy who, if he continues to progress the way he did in '14 in that new role, that we can see him helping the back end of the bullpen in the not-too-distant future."

Despite his injury issues, Ynoa still has time on his side. He is only 23. His reliever skills are raw, as he has been a reliever for only one season, coming out of the bullpen at Class A Stockton this past year.

"He was a 16-year-old kid who got the largest bonus in history at that time, so obviously, a great deal of expectation comes with that," Ventura said. "He then had to battle through some health issues. It was a tough transition for him. I know our scouts were very optimistic about the transition to the pen and how he responded to that, and they think he's found a home in the back end of the bullpen there."