Ramirez Released By Oakland
Likely future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez requested his release from the organization on Friday night and the A's granted that request. Ramirez had been playing with Triple-A Sacramento, where he was batting .302/.348/.349 in 17 games. Ramirez had been heating up recently, collecting hits in six straight games. He hadn't homered for the River Cats, however, and had only three extra-base hits in 63 at-bats. He also battled leg soreness.
Ramirez's release came on the day that the A's returned to American League parks after a week playing without the DH in the National League. The A's had been expected to promote Ramirez upon their return to Oakland, but with Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes, Coco Crisp and Collin Cowgill all hitting better in recent days and Yoenis Cespedes likely to need the DH spot while he nurses a sore hamstring, there wasn't an obvious spot for Ramirez on the A's roster. He indicated through a statement from his management agency that he intends to try to latch on with another organization and play in the major leagues this season.
The A's didn't immediately announce a move to replace Ramirez on the River Cats' roster, but it is likely that an infielder will be called up from Double-A Midland. Tyler Ladendorf (who can play all over the infield and all three outfield spots) and Luke Hughes are the most likely candidates.
Russell Officially Signs With A's
A little more than a week after being selected with the 11th overall pick in the draft, Addison Russell is officially a professional baseball player. The star shortstop from Pace High School in Florida signed a reportedly $2.65 million deal with the A's. He spent the day in Oakland with the A's and had the opportunity to take batting practice and hang out on the field before the game.
Russell will report to the A's minor league complex in Arizona and will likely begin the short-season on the Arizona Rookie League A's roster. He could see time with short-season Vermont by the end of the year.
Straily Nearly Perfect In Heart-Breaking Loss
Dan Straily continues to show that he is for real, seemingly improving with every start for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds. The right-hander had his best start of the season on Friday, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning. He would toss eight one-run innings before handing the 2-1 game over to his bullpen. Jonathan Ortiz would be unable to hold that lead, however, as the Rockhounds lost the game, 6-2.
Straily re-took the lead for all minor leaguers in strike-outs with his nine-K performance over eight innings. He now has 108 strike-outs in 85.1 innings this season. The only base-runner Straily allowed in his eight innings came on a seventh inning solo homerun from Jonathan Galvez with two outs in the inning. It was only the sixth homerun allowed by Straily this season. He lowered his ERA to 3.38 with the eight-inning effort.
Friday marked the fifth time in his last 10 starts that Straily had struck-out at least nine batters. He has not walked many either, issuing only 23 free passes all season.
Other News and Notes
- Outfielder Matt Sulentic and left-handed pitcher Ben Hornbeck have retired from baseball, according to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman. Sulentic was the A's second pick (third round) in 2006. He is the all-time hits leader in Midland Rockhounds' history. Hornbeck threw only 22.1 innings last season due to injuries. The left-hander had his best season in 2009 when he struck-out 159 in 116.1 innings.
- Brandon Hicks (9) homered for a second straight game in the River Cats' win over Tacoma. He also doubled and raised his OPS for the season to 850. Daric Barton also homered (3) and doubled and Anthony Recker had two hits. Recker once again got the start in left field and Grant Green got his first start as a professional at third base. Green extended his hitting streak to 11 games and went 1-for-3. He is batting .303 with an 819 OPS.
- Miles Head connected on two more homeruns to raise his season total to 16 and Dusty Robinson added his seventh homer for Stockton and 16th overall, but the Ports still fell to Visalia on Friday night. Blake Hassebrock returned from an eight-week DL stint, but he was roughed up for four runs in two innings pitched. Ian Krol came on in relief in the third and he allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings pitched with four strike-outs and one walk. Deyvi Jimenez was sent back to extended spring training to make room for Hassebrock on the Ports' roster.