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A’s minor league recap for Opening Night

Other than Vin Mazzaro’s dazzling performance, there wasn’t a lot of positive news coming out of Opening Night for the A’s minor league affiliates.

All four A’s farm teams that played on Thursday night lost, including Triple-A Sacramento, which wasted Mazzaro’s eye-opening start.

Here’s a brief look at how the A’s minor leaguers fared:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Mazzaro, who lost a battle for a spot in the A’s rotation, threw four hitless innings in the River Cats’ 9-4 loss to Tacoma (Seattle). Mazzaro walked two and struck out five.

Jared Lansford (2nd round, ‘05) was one of three relievers who got knocked around. He gave up two runs, two hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning. Submarine style lefty Jay Marshall gave up two hits during his scoreless inning.

Sacramento’s offensive standouts were outfielders Aaron Cunningham (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) and Chris Denorfia (2-for-3, 3 runs, SB).

Sean Doolittle (0-for-4) threw out a Rainiers player trying to stretch a single into a double while playing right field. Daric Barton (0-for-3), seemingly in a “first baseman of the future” competition with both Doolittle and Midland’s Chris Carter, manned first base without incident.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

The aforementioned Carter’s infield single enabled Corey Wimberly to produce the Rockhounds’ lone run in a 6-1 loss to Arkansas (Angels). Carter, the organization’s No. 1 source of power, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his Double-A debut.

Wimberly, the utilityman acquired from Colorado for Matt Murton this spring, played third base and had two stolen bases as well as one of Midland’s three hits.

The Rockhounds’ lineup included three premium prospects: 2B Adrian Cardenas (0-for-4, 3 K’s), catcher Josh Donaldson (0-for-2, 1 BB) and CF Corey Brown, a 2007 compensation round pick (0-for-3, 1 K).

Arnold Leon, the 20-year-old former Mexican League phenom, struck out two and allowed one hit in one inning.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

The Ports were overshadowed in their opener during a 5-1 loss in San Jose against the star-studded collection of Lil’ Giants. It must have been a special night in San Jose for our Giants beat writer Andy Baggarly to pass up the Brewers at AT&T and cover the San Jose vs. Stockton game.

Former Bishop O’Dowd High and Cal standout Tyson Ross (2nd round, ‘08) started and took the loss. He pitched four innings, running into trouble in the third when the Giants scored both of their runs. Ross walked two and struck out one.

San Jose starter Tim Alderson, the Giants’ second No. 1 pick in ‘07, threw four scoreless innings against the Ports, whose lineup these days only features one of Oakland’s Top 50 prospects — outfielder Matt Spencer, who went 0-for-4. Other Giants phenoms on display included 1B Angel Villanova, who homered. Giants catcher Buster Posey, the fifth overall pick in last June’s draft, went 0-for-5.

Center fielder Jermaine Mitchell, a five-tool talent who as a 24-year-old may be running out of time in his quest to fullfill that promise, had two hits for Stockton, as did designated hitter/reality TV star Shane Keough and organizational catcher Matt Smith.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Shortstop-turned-third baseman Jason Christian (5th round, ‘08) drove in the Cougars’ only run during a 4-1 loss to Peoria (Cubs affiliate) in Kane County’s opener Thursday night. Christian, batting third, went 1-for-4.

Shortstop Dusty Coleman (28th round, ‘08) batted second and went 0-for-4. Coleman was one of three 2008 A’s draftees who signed for significantly more than their draft slot would warrant — RHP Brett Hunter and OF Rashun Dixon were the others. Coleman left Wichita State when the A’s gave him a $675,000 deal, reportedly a record for any player ever drafted after the 14th round.

Starting pitcher Matt Fitts (16th round, ‘08) retired the first 10 batters he faced but ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth, allowing a two-run double to Rebel Ridling and later giving up one more run in the fifth. Fitts pitched five innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs. The righty walked one and struck out three.

David Thomas (14th round, ‘08) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. The center fielder also went over the wall to rob Ridling of a home run in the second inning.

Information from this report was gathered from A’s minor league public relations departments and MILB.com.

Jon Becker