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A’s minor league update: Cunningham joins A’s, Copeland back with Giants

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates Thursday:

There were some more roster moves in Sacramento today as the RiverCats saw the A’s recall outfielder Aaron Cunningham and activate reliever Santiago Casilla. To replace them, the RiverCats added relievers Jerry Blevins and Jeff Gray, who were both sent down by the big club.

Also, the Ben Copeland experiment is officially over as the A’s sent their Rule 5 choice back to the Giants for $25,000, or half the original cost Oakland incurred in claiming the outfielder. Copeland will continue his rehabilitation stint with the Giants’ Single-A squad in San Jose.

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Albuquerque (Dodgers) 11, RiverCats 2: Story l Boxscore

Gio Gonzalez struggled Thursday night for the Cats as he allowed eight runs (four earned) and walked five in just 2 1/3 innings. Gonzalez’s ERA ballooned to 4.44.

Daric Barton is now at .200 after going 1-for-3 with a double to boost his team-leading RBI total to 19. Adrian Cardenas went 0-for-2 while batting ninth and saw his average dip to .191.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

San Antonio (Padres) 4, RockHounds 3: Story l Boxscore

Anthony Recker went 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs in the RockHounds’ 10-inning loss. Recker had half of the RockHounds’ six hits.

Kristian Bell had a promising start for Midland, going five innings and allowing just two runs in his best effort of the season.

Chris Carter is in a 1-for-14 slump after going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 6, Inland Empire (Dodgers) 3: Story l Boxscore

Jermaine Mitchell smacked a three-run triple in the eighth inning to provide the difference for the Ports.

Scott Hodsdon didn’t get the win but he did pitch well, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs and striking out six. Jon Hunton is now 6-for-6 in save opportunities after throwing two scoreless innings.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Game 1: Burlington (Royals), 6, Cougars 3: Story l Boxscore

Game 2: Cougars 3, Burlington (Royals) 2: Story l Boxscore

Anthony Capra had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing 10 hits and five runs in five innings to take the Game 1 loss.

The Cougars got a doubleheader split, thanks to Jason Christian, who delivered an RBI single in the seventh inning for the winner in Game 2.

Dusty Coleman had a pair of doubles and an RBI in the win.

Brett Hunter allowed just one hit in his four innings, which also included five walks and three strikeouts. Kenny Smalley got the win with three scoreless innings.

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A’s minor league recap: Corey Brown stays hot; RiverCats add Adam Kennedy

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

Corey Brown is the latest Midland Rockhound to haunt opposing Texas League pitching (see below) and Dana Eveland is set to make his first bid to return to Oakland tonight when he takes the mound for Sacramento.

The RiverCats technically added former Angels and Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy to the team. Kennedy was acquired from Tampa Bay on Friday afternoon for a player to be named later and was assigned to Sacramento. However, the A’s indicated later Friday that Kennedy, who was hitting .280 with three HRs and nine RBI in 23 games for Triple-A Durham, would join the big league club as soon as Saturday.

Also, highly touted pitchers Michel Ynoa, the free-agent pitcher from the Dominican Republic, and Fautino De Los Santos, the hard-throwing righty acquired from the White Sox last year in the Nick Swisher deal, arrived in Phoenix for extended spring training on Thursday. We’ll get updates on their progress as it warrants.

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Reno (Diamondbacks) 4, RiverCats 1: Game story Boxscore

The RiverCats’ third straight defeat still leaves them in first place, two games ahead of Reno in the PCL’s Pacific South division. But, the alarming news is Sacramento’s continuing struggles offensively as the RiverCats rank last among the PCL’s 16 teams with a .229 team batting average. The ‘Cats are also 15th in on-base percentage (.318) and 14th in OPS (.680).

Adrian Cardenas, who was tearing up Double-A Midland, is just 2-for-22 (.091) through six games in Triple-A. Daric Barton’s 1-for-4 in Thursday’s loss boosts his average to .167 (15-for-90 for the season).

Sean Doolittle is one of Sacramento’s more productive hitters with a .257 batting average, four homers and 15 RBI in 27 games.

As a side note, Reno’s Bryan Byrne, the former Saint Mary’s College standout, went 0-for-4 in his Triple-A debut.

Recently demoted Dana Eveland will make his RiverCats’ debut tonight (Friday) in Las Vegas.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

RockHounds 14, Corpus Christi (Astros) 2: Game story Boxscore

Corey Brown continued his torrid pace by smashing a pair of homers, a double and droving in four runs in Thursday’s win. Brown, hitting .435 in 13 games this season, has gone 10-for-17 with four homers and nine RBI in his last four games.

Chris Carter had another RBI, boosting his total to 26 in 27 games. Also, catcher Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer and his 6-for-15 streak has pushed his average to a more respectable .239.

Jason Fernandez (3-3, 4.04 ERA) picked up the win with eight solid innings. He gave up five hits, two earned runs, no walks and struck out four.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 4, Visalia (Diamondbacks) 2: Game story Boxscore

Craig Italiano’s strong performance on the mound (6 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 8 strikeouts) helped the Ports snap a four-game losing streak by beating the Rawhide. Stockton’s 6-foot-9 closer Jon Hunton notched his fourth save.

Matt Spencer had two hits, including a double. Todd Johnson, leading the Ports’ regulars with a .267 average, drove in a run. Shane Keough (.232) had two hits and two RBI.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Fort Wayne (Padres) 1, Cougars 0: Game story Boxscore

Anthony Capra was very good but took the loss after surrendering just one hit in six innings. Capra, who walked five and struck out three, allowed a solo home run to Fort Wayne’s Jeff Decker in the fifth inning for the game’s only run.

Kane County’s top two hitters, shortstop Dusty Coleman (.319) and first baseman Steve Kleen (.320) were a combined 0-for-7.

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The Farm Report

A quick post today before heading out to catch the big club at the Coliseum later this afternoon:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— The River Cats used Adrian Cardenas at second base in a 5-3 win over Reno last night, and Cardenas made the defensive play of the night, going behind second base to start a 4-6-3 double play. Keep an eye out to see if he also sees time at shortstop. The A’s are going to need somebody at that spot down the road.

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Show me Doolittle

Here’s one of the issues with blogs. I’ve put out a couple of calls to Keith Lieppman, the A’s director of player development over the past couple of weeks, hoping to discuss some of the team’s prospects. I haven’t heard back, which frankly doesn’t surprise me, because you mention the word “blog” in a message, and there’s the immediate concern of credibility. I had a decent relationship with Lieppman over the years but it’s probably been half a decade since I talked to him with any sort of regularity. I do expect to hear from him at some point.

Anyway, I’ll keep trying.  In the meantime, feed us what you’ve seen of Sean Doolittle. His stats at Triple-A Sacramento have caught my eye (and maybe because I’ve been used to watching such terrible offense at the big-league level for so long). Twenty-two hits, nine of them for extra-bases (including four home runs) and a team-high 14 RBI. Not bad. Hard to imagine Doolittle seeing the light of day with the big club this season, though, because he plays right field, and the A’s aren’t lacking for outfielders. But he’s only 22, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and trending upward. He started last year at Stockton. Keep an eye on him.

Other news from the River Cats and the A’s other affiliates:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— Fading prospect Daric Barton has only 12 hits, but 10 of them have driven in runs. He’s tied with Doolittle for the team’s RBI lead.

— Ryan Webb earned his team-high fourth win in the team’s 7-4 win over Triple-A Colorado Springs in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader.

— Adrian Cardenas was 1-for-7 in his first two games after being promoted from Double-A.

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

—Danny Putnam, a former Stanford star who’s destined to be remembered (or not) as one of the A’s more all-time minor leaguers, had three more hits Sunday in a 6-5 win over San Antonio. Check out Putnam’s numbers. Again, he’s an outfielder. And he’s going to be 27 at the end of the year. If he makes it, look for it to be elsewhere.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

— Matt Spencer has an 11-game hitting streak, one bright spot for a Ports team that fell to 6-18 by losing 5-3 to Bakersfield on Sunday. Spencer has had a nice start, and yep, he’s an outfielder.

BTW, here’s a date you might want to circle on your calendar.

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A’s minor league recap: Hot-hitting Cardenas promoted to Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The big news Friday was the arrival of infielder Adrian Cardenas from Double-A Midland, who earned a promotion after tearing up Texas League with a .372 average and a league-leading 13 extra-base hits in 19 games. The hot-hitting Cardenas, Oakland’s No. 5 prospect according to Baseball America, will likely split time between second base and shortstop with Cliff Pennington.
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A’s minor league recap: RiverCats promote Chen, Galarraga

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Injuries to the A’s Mark Ellis and Nomar Garciaparra led to promotions to Oakland for River Cats infielder Eric Patterson and reliever Kevin Cameron. Sacramento restocked its roster by adding 25-year-old second baseman Yung-Chi Chen, the ex-Mariners prospect who was at Double-A Midland, and 27-year-old catcher Joel Galarraga, signed from the Mexican League in January, who was at extended spring training.

Sacramento was off Wednesday, but Galarraga started Thursday night and caught Vin Mazzarro, who came into the game with a 0-0 record and a 1.35 ERA. Sacramento made room behind the plate for Galarraga by sending slumping Anthony Recker (.156 batting average in 14 games) to Midland.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

Adrian Cardenas continued his torrid hitting by collecting three hits and five RBI in the RockHounds’ 16-9 win over Corpus Christi (Astros) on Wednesday. Cardenas, who moved back to playing second base to make room for Josh Horton at shortstop, is hitting .355.

Chris Carter is in a bit of a Holliday-esque home run slump, but the first baseman collected two more RBI and his 21 runs driven in are second in the Texas League. Horton, limited to DH duties because of a sore throwing shoulder, had three hits and is batting .339.

Meanwhile, a lot of attention at the game was paid to Corpus Christi catcher Koby Clemens’ dad, Roger, who was in attendance. In fact, Clemens threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Thursday night.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Three of the A’s four affiliates are in first place. Then there’s the Ports. Stockton fell to 4-16 after Wednesday’s 11-8 loss to Visalia (Diamondbacks).

More bad news came in the form of an injury to ex-Cal and Bishop O’Dowd High pitcher Tyson Ross, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Ross had a 4.40 ERA in three starts.

The Ports’ struggling offense got a boost from the promotion of David Thomas (14th round, ’08 draft) from Kane County. Thomas was hitting .360 and was tied for the Midwest League lead in homers with four.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Kane County filled the hole left by David Thomas by adding 20-year-old outfielder Jeremy Barfield (8th round, ’08) from extended spring training. Barfield’s father, Jesse, was a former major league outfielder and his brother, Josh, is currently in the Indians’ minor league system after spending most of the last three years in the majors.

Jeremy Barfield is beginning his first full season in pro ball after batting .271 with three homers and 41 RBI last summer at Short-A Vancouver.

The Cougars fell 2-1 to Lansing (Blue Jays) on Wednesday but remain in first place.

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Monday’s minor-league rundown

News from the farm:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

One pleasant thing to report: Vin Mazzaro, the talented 21-year-old pitching prospect, has an 0.75 ERA in his past two starts. Something not-so-pleasant: Daric Barton, who is fast turning into Kelvin Moore and other memorable busts, is in a 3-for-27 (.111) slump.

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

Tommy Everidge, last year’s Texas League RBI champ, drove in two runs to give the Rockhounds a quick lead, shortstop Adrian Cardenas erased a deficit with a two-run double, and pitcher Arnold Leon struck out Mark Ori to end an uprising in the ninth in a 7-4 win against Corpus Christi.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

The Ports (4-14) will take their first two-game winning streak of the season into a three-game series against Visalia. One interesting item: Shane Keough, son of Matt, is hitting .209 in 17 games.

SINGLE-A KANE COUNTY

The Cougars hit three more homers Monday, pushing their Midwest League-leading total to 16, as Petey Paramore (solo), Grant Desme (two-run) and David Thomas (two-run) all went deep in a 10-6 win over Beloit. Kane County rallied from 5-1 down to win their sixth straight home game and capture its fifth straight series to start the season, a team record.

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A’s minor league recap: Gallagher starts Saturday in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The RiverCats added Sean Gallagher Thursday when the onetime Chicago Cub pitcher was optioned to Sacramento by the A’s. Gallagher will
join the starting rotation and make his first start in Sacramento on Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).
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On the farm

Today, we’re going to start something new on this blog.  We’ll be filing periodic minor-league updates that go beyond the daily updates that the minor-league teams provide. I’ve got calls out to Keith Lieppman and Billy Owens, both of whom are in the know regarding the A’s best prospects. No return calls yet, but as soon as I get some, I’ll update.

In the meantime, through the minor-league season’s first 10 days here’s what stands out.

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— Vince Mazzaro, who lasted just eight total innings in his first two starts, went six while allowing a run on Monday and lowered his ERA to 1.93. Mazzaro, as everyone probably knows, is likely to be the first one tapped if the A’s need another starter.

— James Simmons, another highly rated prospect, had his best start of the year Tuesday in a 4-2 win at Portland. His overall stats so far aren’t overly impressive, but it’s early.

Daric Barton has been awful. And now he may be out a while. He didn’t play last night after being hit by a pitch on Monday. What’s happened to this guy? Remember when he was touted as a potential Albert Pujols?

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

— The Rockhounds have lost two straight after closing their first 10-game stretch at 7-3.

— SS Adrian Cardenas, whom the A’s acquired from Philadelphia last season in the Joe Blanton deal, was hitting .360 through Tuesday and had hit safely in all but two games. He also was tied for the Texas League lead in hits.

— Chris Carter, whose 39 home runs at Single-A Stockton last season led the A’s organization, has gone deep only once so far, but his 14 RBI were tied for the league lead. I saw this guy last year. He’s a beast.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

— Bad start for Cal product Tyson Ross, who struggled with arm issues last seaon. Ross lost his first two starts, and his 1.67 WHIP (baserunners per inning) is a red flag. Then again, the team behind him isn’t very good. The Ports are 1-12.

LOW-A KANE COUNTY

— First baseman Steve Kleen is hitting .385 out of the gate and also has eight RBI, contributing mightily to the Cougars’ 7-3 start.

— Kleen isn’t the only one tatooing the ball. SS Dusty Coleman (.342), and outfielder David Thomas (.317) all have been key contributors to Kane County’s .275 average as a team.

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A’s minor league recap: Mazzaro shines in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates the last couple of days:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Here’s the recap from Monday’s game, when Jack Hannahan and Chris Denorfia homered in the ‘Cats win. Daric Barton, hitting .158 in 12 games, left in the second inning after getting hit by a pitch.
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