Sacramento River Cats
Since the start of Friday, the River Cats have seen a number of changes to their roster. On Friday, the River Cats lost infielder Steven Tolleson - who has been the team's most consistent performer with the bat - to the disabled list with a strained calf. Reliever Brad Kilby also landed on the seven-day DL on Friday. Kilby had been struggling lately, allowing seven runs over his last 3.1 innings of work.
On Friday, the River Cats also welcomed back an old face: outfielder Matt Watson, who starred for the River Cats in 2004 through 2006. He signed a minor league deal with the A's. Watson left the River Cats during the 2006 season to sign with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Professional League and he spent two years in Japan. Watson was in the Toronto organization in 2008 and the New York Mets chain in 2009. He last appeared in a big league game in 2005 with Oakland. Watson has a career .297 average with an 837 OPS. He has gone 4-8 in his first two games back with the River Cats.
Sacramento also welcomed back some players from the disabled list: outfielder Michael Taylor and starting pitcher Lenny DiNardo. Taylor missed three weeks with a calf strain. He went 1-5 in his first game back on Saturday. DiNardo missed one turn through the rotation with a sore left elbow. He pitched three shut-out innings on Saturday.
Reliever Cedrick Bowers will be re-joining the River Cats bullpen soon. The left-hander was optioned back to Sacramento on Saturday when the A's activated starter Brett Anderson, who tossed 5.2 scoreless innings for Oakland and earned the win over the Detroit Tigers. Bowers made one appearance with the A's, allowing one run in one inning, striking out two. He was on the A's roster for two weeks.
Outfielder Corey Brown was demoted to Double-A Midland to make room for Taylor on Saturday. Brown is one of the A's top outfield prospects, but he has struggled mightily this season in his first taste of Triple-A baseball. In 34 games for Sacramento, Brown is batting .156 with a 482 OPS. He was with Midland earlier this season and hit .313 in eight games.
In addition to welcoming back Brown, the Rockhounds added minor league veteran Val Majewski on Saturday. Majewski signed a minor league deal with the A's this week.
The former Baltimore Orioles prospect spent last year in the Los Angeles Angels chain. He is a career .291 hitter in seven minor league seasons. Majewski appeared in the MLB Futures Game in 2004 and also made his major league debut that season, collecting two hits in 13 at-bats over nine games for Baltimore. He is a centerfielder.
The Stockto Ports said good-bye to two pitchers and welcomed in two others on Saturday. Right-handers Murphy Smith and Jose Pina were sent to Low-A Kane County, while right-hander Mike Madsen and left-hander Paul Oseguera were added to the Stockton staff.
Smith, the A's 2009 13th round pick, was struggling for Stockton. In 48 innings, he had a 6.19 ERA and batters were hitting .350 off of him. Ironically, Smith had one of his best starts of the season on Thursday, allowing only two runs on five hits and a walk with five strike-outs in six innings against the San Jose Giants. He will likely join the Cougars rotation.
Pina, a minor league off-season acquisition from the Chicago Cubs, posted an 8.10 ERA in 20 relief innings for Stockton. Pina appeared in his first game for Kane County on Saturday, tossing a shut-out inning.
Madsen joins Stockton from Extended Spring Training, where he was rehabbing from an elbow injury that cost him much of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Madsen was once one of the A's top pitching prospects before he was waylaid by injury, making the US roster for the MLB Futures Game in 2007. The Ohio State alum went 11-8 with a 3.54 ERA and 129 strike-outs in 147.2 innings in 2007, his last healthy season.
Oseguera is another recent minor league signing by the A's. The left-hander was pitching in the Atlantic League (independent) before the A's signed him this week. Oseguera is a former San Francisco Giants prospect who had 10 wins for the San Jose Giants in 2007. He also pitched for the San Jose Giants in 2009, winning seven games and striking out 97 in 105 innings.
Kane County Cougars
The Cougars welcomed Smith and Pina on Saturday, but said good-bye to right-handers Kyle Christensen and Jonathan Joseph and catcher Chris Affinito, all of whom were sent to Extended Spring Training. All three are likely to join the short-season Vancouver Canadians when the Northwest League season opens.
Joseph was the Cougars' Opening Day starter, but he spent most of the season in the bullpen. He also spent a few weeks on the DL. Joseph's longest outing was four innings and he had a 4.67 ERA with 18 strike-outs and 11 walks in 17.1 innings.
Christensen was with the Cougars for only three weeks after starting the season at Extended. He appeared in five games (two starts) and had a 6.92 ERA in 13 innings. He walked six and struck-out four.
Affinito was sent to Extended after landing on the Cougars' disabled list with an ankle injury. The backstop hit .141 in 21 games for Kane County with 34 strike-outs. He hit an even .300 for the A's Rookie League team last season.
* Sacramento closer Henry Rodriguez allowed his first Triple-A run of the season on Saturday, but still nailed down the save for Sacramento in Reno. Rodriguez has allowed one earned run in 13.1 innings with 20 strike-outs and four walks. He has allowed only five hits and has five saves.
* Stockton's Michael Spina feasted on the San Jose Giants' pitching this weekend, collecting eight RBIs in the four-game series, which concluded on Saturday. Spina had five RBIs on Friday night, two of which came on a walk-off double. He has eight homers and 35 RBIs this season.
* Eric Sogard hit his first homerun of the season for Sacramento in their win on Saturday. He is batting .313 with an 824 OPS in May.
* Alexander Valdez fell a double short of the cycle for Midland in their loss on Saturday. He is batting .299 with seven homers and an 884 OPS in 47 games this season.
* Andrew Carignan was hung with a blown save for Stockton on Saturday when he allowed three runs in the ninth inning to San Jose. He struck-out three in 1.1 innings, but walked two and allowed two hits. Ben Hornbeck was brilliant in his start for Stockton in the game, allowing only a run on two hits and one walk in six innings. He struck-out nine.
* Catcher Juan Nunez made an appearance on the mound for Kane County in their 15-inning loss to Clinton. He allowed a walk but retired the other batter he faced in the top of the 15th.