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:


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.


Monday’s minor-league rundown

News from the farm:


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.


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.


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.


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.


A’s minor league recap: Kane County’s Figueroa dominant in win

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


As noted Friday, the RiverCats lost 5-1 to Portland (Padres) despite a strong start by Vin Mazzaro.

Sean Gallagher makes his first start for the RiverCats Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).

MIDLAND (Double-A)

The Rockhounds got three hits from Tommy Everidge, two hits from Chris Carter (.328) and a homer from Danny Putnam in their 9-3 victory over San Antonio (Padres).

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Catcher Raul Padron now has six RBI in just three games for the Ports, but that was about the only bright spot in Stockton’s 4-2 loss to Bakersfield (Rangers) on Friday.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Lefty Pedro Figueroa was dominant in the Cougars’ 8-1 win over Burlington (Royals). The 23-year-old threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, no walks and striking out nine.

Kane County’s offense was boosted by home runs from Jason Christian, Grant Desme and catcher Juan Nunez.


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:


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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A’s minor league recap: Oakland’s system rated No. 1

More praise rained down on the A’s organization Wednesday when The Hardball Times rated Oakland’s farm system as the most valuable in all of baseball. THT’s Victor Wang developed a formula for assessing value to each team’s minor league system and, after crunching the numbers, the A’s overall depth won out.

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A’s minor league recap (Monday’s games)

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


Gio Gonzalez didn’t allow any runs or hits in his first start of the season, but the left-hander’s three-inning stint in the River Cats’ 4-1 win over Portland (Padres) Monday also included some wildness. Gonzalez, who was limited to three innings due to reaching his pitch count, walked three and threw just 19 of his 38 pitches for strikes.

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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:

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Here’s where the A’s top prospects will begin the season

Here’s a quick look at which affiliates the A’s top prospects have been assigned to for the start of the minor league season, which begins Thursday night for most:


Aaron Cunningham, OF
Gio Gonzalez, LHP
Daric Barton, 1B
Sean Doolittle, 1B/OF
Vin Mazzaro, RHP
James Simmons, RHP
Henry Rodriguez, RHP
Jared Lansford, RHP
Cliff Pennington, SS
Anthony Recker, C
Gregorio Petit, SS

MIDLAND (Double-A)

Adrian Cardenas, SS
Chris Carter, 1B
Corey Brown, OF
John Donaldson, C
Sam Demel, RHP
Javier Herrera OF
Arnold Leon, RHP
Josh Horton, SS
Corey Wimberly 2B
Danny Putnam, OF

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Tyson Ross, RHP
Craig Italiano, RHP
Daniel Thomas, RHP
Matt Spencer, OF

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Brett Hunter, RHP
Jason Christian, SS
Petey Paramore, C
Dusty Coleman, SS
Pedro Figueroa, LHP

Extended spring training (many will head to Vancouver for short-season rookie league)

Jemile Weeks, 2B
Andrew Carignan, RHP
Rashun Dixon, OF
Michael Ynoa, RHP
Fautino De Los Santos, RHP
Jeremy Barfield, OF
Nino Leyja, SS
Matt Sulentic, OF


Sunday update

Talked to Joey Devine a bit ago. He said his elbow felt fine during a 32-pitch bullpen session off the mound this morning. He threw all of his pitches and said he’s on target to pitch in a minor league game Tuesday.

The Sunday morning happenings in A’s land:

–Eric Chavez took 25 swings on a back diamond behind Phoenix Municipal Stadium and said it went well. He mentioned this morning he’d take tomorrow off from hitting but may take regular batting practice w/the team Tuesday. Bob Geren was asked how it would be determined if Chavez could be ready for the start of the regular season. “If he feels good at the plate and he’s throwing the ball OK, he’s ready. But he has to get out there and test that shoulder swinging and throwing.”

–Geren expects shortstop Orlando Cabrera to miss another few days with his lower back tightness. Friday would be the earliest he’d return to the lineup. Considering the time he’s missed, Geren acknowledged the importance of getting Bobby Crosby a little time at shortstop, as well as the other infield spots. Crosby is starting at third today, w/Cliff Pennington at shortstop. About Cabrera, keep in mind he’s been one of the game’s most durable players over the years. He played 161 games last season.

–Justin Duchscherer is still scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow. Joey Devine was set to throw a bullpen session today, but I haven’t talked to him yet.

–I wrote yesterday that Dallas Braden would start today against the White Sox. The A’s have decided to pitch him in relief, and give the start to Vin Mazzaro. Don’t read anything into that. Braden is set to throw on three days’ rest Thursday in a minor league game, when the A’s are off. His schedule got thrown off because he was scratched Saturday after getting a root canal.

Today’s lineup:

Buck RF
Suzuki C
Sweeney CF
Holliday LF
Ellis DH
Barton 1B
Crosby 3B
Pennington SS
Petit 2B

Mazzaro on the hill …


A’s send Jerome Williams, seven others down

The home clubhouse at Phoenix Municipal Stadium got a little less crowded this morning as eight players were sent down to the minors. Most notable among them — non-roster right-hander Jerome Williams, who was considered a strong candidate for the A’s rotation. Second baseman Eric Patterson, third baseman Jeff Baisley and right-hander Ryan Webb were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Williams, right-hander James Simmons (who had an outside chance at the rotation), and right-handed reliever Kevin Cameron were reassigned to minor league camp, along with infielders Joe Dillon and Sean Doolittle. (To clarify: If a player wasn’t on the 40-man roster, he gets “reassigned” to the minors; if he was on the 40-man, he gets “optioned” and remains on the 40-man.)

Sending Williams down is another indication the A’s are strongly considering one of their young blue-chip prospects (Vin Mazzaro, Trevor Cahill or Brett Anderson) for the rotation. Williams came into camp looking like a starting candidate because of his prior big league experience. He wasn’t terrible in Cactus League games (4.00 ERA in four appearances, but no starts). Bob Geren said this morning that Williams would probably begin the season in Sacramento’s rotation, so he’s a decent option as an emergency starter in the bigs when needed.

–Simmons is likely to join Williams in the Triple-A rotation, which also figures to include any from the trio of Anderson, Cahill and Mazzaro who aren’t in the majors. Geren had good things to say about Doolittle, a first baseman considered to be excellent defensively. “He’s got some similar actions around the bag to Don Mattingly,” said Geren, a teammate of Mattingly’s with the Yankees. Doolittle was hitting .364 this spring and his 9 RBI leads the A’s.

–Reliever Joey Devine is scheduled to throw a flat-ground side session Tuesday, followed by a bullpen session off the mound Thursday. Write that in pencil, as we all know the schedules for the A’s walking wounded change by the day.

–Eric Chavez took grounders at third, though his throwing is limited to long toss for now. He’s still targeting Wednesday or Thursday to start hitting again.

–Today’s lineup vs. the visiting Dodgers, who are without Manny Ramirez but will have ex-Giants Jason Schmidt and Shawn Estes throwing:

Davis CF
Buck RF
GArciaparra DH
Giambi 1B
Powell C
Crosby 3B
Denorfia LF
Hannahan 2B
Pennington SS

Cahill starting on the mound …