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Stassi docks in Stockton

Former Honker recovered from injury

Almost a year after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, Max Stassi is back to playing baseball.

The former Yuba City High standout began his third season of professional baseball last week in the Stockton Ports' season opener at Lake Elsinore.

Stassi is back with the Oakland Athletics' Class A-Advanced League squad this season after missing the majority of 2011 with a shoulder injury, a condition that plagued him since his senior season with the Honkers.

The Ports are scheduled to take on the Modesto Nuts in Stockton's home opener tonight at Banner Island Ballpark at 7:05 p.m.

Stockton is 4-3 this season and Stassi is batting .267 in five games. He homered in the Ports' 10-4 loss on Monday to the Bakersfield Blaze.

Stassi also homered on April 3 in a scrimmage against Oakland's Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats.

Despite overcoming that shoulder injury over the past 11 months, Stassi suffered another injury in Tuesday's game against Bakersfield.

In the bottom of the first inning, Stassi took a relay throw at home plate and rolled his ankle. He left the game and is day-to-day. X-rays revealed an ankle sprain, not a break.

Stassi is rated as the organization's top defensive catcher by Baseball America, though catcher Derek Norris is listed as the seventh-best prospect in the A's system.

Norris, who is with Triple-A Sacramento, was acquired over the winter from the Washington Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade.

Stassi told the Stockton Record last week that he's ready to put last season behind him.

"Last year was a disappointment," Stassi said. "It was tough for me. Some days my shoulder felt good, some days it felt bad. Staying positive was the key."

Stassi, who turned 21 on March 15, spent his first full season of pro ball in 2010 with the Low-A Kane County Cougars.

His next promotion would be Double-A in the Texas League with the Midland RockHounds.

Stassi was a four-time A-D All-Area selection, including three Player of the Year nods. He's the only four-time Sacramento Bee All-Metro pick and a two-time All-Metro Player of the Year.

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