Oakland A's MLN: Farquhar Returns

In our latest Oakland A's Minor League Notebook, we review all of the news and notes from the A's minor league system this past weekend, including the return of Danny Farquhar.

Hot Potato, Hot Potato: Farquhar Back With Oakland

You can forgive Danny Farquhar if he feels a bit like a boomerang right now. The reliever has been moved four times over the past two seasons, and each time the transaction resulted in either being acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays or the Oakland A's.

Farquhar's unusual journey began before the 2011 season when he was traded by his original organization - the Blue Jays - to the A's along with Trystan Magnuson as part of the Rajai Davis trade. Farquhar was a non-roster invite to major league spring training that year and began the start of the 2011 campaign with Triple-A Sacramento. Farquhar made four strong appearances for the River Cats - no earned runs allowed and nine strike-outs - before he was traded back to Toronto for reliever David Purcey (the A's would later flip Purcey to Detroit for Scott Sizemore).

Farquhar would spent the bulk of the 2011 season pitching in the difficult environment that is Las Vegas. For the 51's, he had a 4.07 ERA with 15 saves and 52 strike-outs in 59.2 innings pitched. Farquhar made his major league debut with the Blue Jays last season, allowing four runs in two innings spread over three appearances.

This season, Farquhar had been pitching at the Double-A level with New Hampshire. In 30.1 innings, he had a 2.97 ERA with a better than 3:1 K:BB ratio (33 to 10). Farquhar was part of a combined no-hitter on May 21. He was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Saturday and immediately claimed by Oakland. Incidentally, one of Farquhar's teammates in the Blue Jays' organization this season was Magnuson, who was claimed by Toronto this off-season after the designated him for assignment. Magnuson has been pitching for High-A Dunedin this year.

To make room for Farquhar on the A's 40-man roster, Oakland placed reliever Andrew Carignan on the 60-day disabled list. He will miss the rest of the 2012 season and the early part of the 2013 campaign after injuring his elbow last week. Carignan will undergo Tommy John surgery to correct the injury. To make room for Farquhar on the River Cats' roster, the A's are moving reliever Trey Barham back to Double-A Midland. Barham allowed 15 runs in 9.2 innings over six appearances with the River Cats.


A's Ink Four More Draft Picks

After announcing 13 draft signings on Friday, the A's announced that four more picks were in the fold on Saturday. Second-round pick Bruce Maxwell became the highest A's pick to sign. Eighth-round pick Kris Hall, 22nd-round pick Matt Hillsinger and 32nd-round pick Ryan Dull also signed.

The A's now have 17 of their 43 picks officially under contract. Teams have until July 13th this season to sign their draft picks. All of the newly signed players are reporting to the A's minor league complex in Phoenix, where they will participate in a mini-camp before being assigned to an affiliate. Most will suit up for either the A's short-season A ball squad in Vermont or the A's Rookie League team in Phoenix.


Other News And Notes

- Farquhar wasn't the only reliever added to the River Cats' roster this weekend. Justin Souza was promoted from High-A Stockton to take the roster spot of reliever Evan Scribner, who was promoted to the big leagues when Carignan landed on the DL. Souza began the year with Sacramento and had a 5.89 ERA in 11 games (18.1 innings). He had pitched much better with Stockton, where he had a 3.72 ERA in 9.2 innings (eight appearances). Souza struck-out 11 over those 9.2 innings.

- Dan Straily's incredible run of high strike-out games continued on Sunday for Double-A Midland. In six innings versus Frisco, Straily struck-out nine and didn't walk a batter. That performance came on the heels of his seven-inning, 11-strike-out performance versus Tulsa on June 4. Straily now has 99 strike-outs in only 80.1 innings this season. Over his last 10 starts, he has struck-out eight or more batters five times. Straily leads the Texas League in strike-outs by 28 Ks.

- Straily was stuck with a tough no-decision in that game against Frisco, but the Rockhounds were able to come away with a comeback 5-4 win. After Jose Guzman and A.J. Huttenlocker combined to allow three runs to Frisco in the bottom of the eighth, Josh Horton drove home Michael Choice with a triple and Michael Spina singled home Horton in the top of the ninth to give Midland a 5-4 lead. Jonathan Ortiz would work a scoreless ninth and was credited with the win on a scorer's decision. (Huttenlocker was the pitcher of record at the time of the Rockhounds' rally). Choice went 3-for-4 and hit his fifth homer of the year. He has an 828 OPS in June.

- Graham Godfrey continued his domination of the Pacific Coast League with eight nearly flawless innings in the high altitude at Colorado Springs on Sunday. Godfrey allowed only two hits and one run. He walked one and struck-out two. The game lowered Godfrey's ERA to 1.05 for the River Cats.

- Travis Banwart made a relief appearance in the Sunday game for Sacramento. It was his second relief appearance this month after his previous 11 appearances this season had come out of the starting rotation. Banwart lost his rotation spot when Tyson Ross and Godfrey were demoted to Triple-A and the A's claimed Travis Blackley off of waivers and made him a starter in the big leagues.

- Grant Green had four hits in the River Cats' Sunday game and is now batting .302 on the season. Over his last 10 games, Green has a .419/.457/.628 line with two homers and nine RBIs. He has a six-game hitting streak and has multi-hit games in five of those six games.

- Manny Ramirez had three RBIs and a double for Sacramento on Sunday. Anthony Recker also made his professional debut as an outfielder in that game, suiting up in left field. He went 0-for-4 but didn't commit an error. Chris Carter had two hits, a walk and two RBIs while playing first base and Eric Sogard reached four times with a hit and three walks. The River Cats stole five bases. Sacramento is fourth in the league with 60 stolen bases and they have only been caught stealing 17 times. The River Cats are also fourth in the league in team OPS (816) and are second in the league in homeruns (72).

- Lefty Ian Krol found his way back into the win column for the first time since 2009 with a strong performance in Stockton's 5-3 road win over San Jose on Sunday. Krol, who missed virtually the entire 2011 season, worked six innings. He was charged with three runs but he allowed only two hits and three walks while striking out five. Krol has a 4.35 ERA and a 40:16 K:BB ratio in 49.2 innings this season (10 starts). After posting an ERA of 6.91 in April, he has had ERAs of 3.47 and 3.00 in May and June, respectively.

- Krol received plenty of support from his bullpen on Sunday, as Ryan Doolittle had two scoreless innings of relief and Zack Thornton earned his fifth save with a perfect ninth inning. Doolittle allowed only one hit and he struck-out three. He has a 1.31 ERA and a 29:3 K:BB ratio in 20.2 innings for Stockton this season. Thornton has some rough outings, but his scoreless inning on Sunday gave him four scoreless outings in a row and six scoreless outings out of seven. He has a 33:5 K:BB ratio this season in 24 innings.

- Sunday's win gave Stockton their second series victory over San Jose this month. Miles Head, A.J. Kirby-Jones and Josh Whitaker each had two hits. Head is leading the Cal League with a .368 BA and a 1075 OPS. Kirby-Jones is fourth in the league with a 984 OPS. Both Ports are tied for fourth in the league in homeruns with 12. Whitaker is putting together a strong month of June after struggling to the tune of a 688 OPS in May. In June, Whitaker has a .323 BA and a 1017 OPS. In only nine games this month, he has already surpassed his homerun total in May and in April. Whitaker has seven homeruns on the season and a 784 OPS.

- Burlington eeked out a win in a marathon three hour and 57 minute game on Sunday. Wade Kirkland singled home Sean Jamieson in the bottom of the 11th to give Burlington a 16-15 win over Quad Cities. Kirkland entered the game in the seventh inning for Zhi Fang Pan and wound-up with two RBIs on a sacrifice fly in the seventh and the walk-off RBI in the 11th.

- Eliezer Mesa had four hits and four RBIs on Sunday for the Bees. He is now batting .333 since his demotion from High-A Stockton. Bobby Crocker and B.A. Vollmuth had three hits apiece and Jamieson, Pan, Rashun Dixon and John Nester each had two hits. The Bees collected four doubles and a triple in the game. It was a rough contest defensively for Vollmuth, who committed three errors to raise his season total to 13. Jonathan Joseph got the win in relief despite allowing four runs in four innings of work.

- The Dominican Summer League is underway and the A's squad is 3-4 to start the year. Sandber Pimentel, a high-profile off-season amateur free agent signing, is off to a good start. The 17-year-old is batting only .238, but he has an 813 OPS thanks to five walks and two extra-base hits (including his first career homer) in 21 at-bats. Argenis Raga and Jose Rosario have also homered for the DSL A's. Jose Torres, who spent the fall at the A's US Instructional League, has allowed only three hits and a walk in seven innings over two appearances for the DSL A's. the lefty has six strike-outs.


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