Oakland A's MLN: An Award-Winning Week

Monday was an award-winning day in the Oakland A's system. We detail who took home the hardware, as well as some injury and roster news and more in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook.

An Award-Winning Week

On Monday, several members of the Oakland A's organization took home player or pitcher of the week awards.

At the major league level, rookie Yoenis Cespedes took home the AL's Player of the Week award for his big series against the Minnesota Twins. In the three-game set that followed the All-Star break, Cespedes collected eight hits in 14 at-bats. He had a double and two homeruns and he scored five runs. The award was Cespedes' first weekly honor. He continued to swing the bat well on Tuesday, collecting two hits in the A's loss to the Rangers.

At the minor league level, three A's prospects took home weekly honors. Sacramento starter Dan Straily captured the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week award. He made only one start during the All-Star break-shortened week, but it was a memorable one. The right-hander struck-out 13 batters in seven innings, extending his lead over all minor league pitchers in the strike-out category. Straily allowed only one hit and one run and he walked two. He has 154 strike-outs in 118.1 innings this season.

Straily's teammate Michael Taylor took home the PCL's Player of the Week award. Taylor had seven hits in 13 at-bats last week. He had a double, two homers and six RBIs in four games. Taylor's hot streak continued on Tuesday, as he homered (his ninth of the season) in the River Cats' game against Tacoma. Taylor has five homers this month and a 1251 OPS.

A's top prospect Michael Choice was the third minor league award winner in the organization. It has taken him a few months to get on-track in the Texas League, but it finally appears that the A's 2010 first-round pick is back to his 2011 form. Last week Choice drove-in 10 runs in five games and had 11 hits in 20 at-bats. He had two doubles, a triple and two homers. Choice has a 1217 OPS this month and is now batting .280 with a 762 OPS on the season.

A's Option Cowgill, Release Hughes

Outfielder Collin Cowgill, on the A's disabled list since June 22, completed his minor league rehab on Tuesday. The A's activated Cowgill and then optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento. Cowgill doubled twice and homered for the River Cats on Tuesday.

Cowgill took the place of infielder Luke Hughes on the River Cats' roster. Hughes, who was claimed off of waivers by the A's earlier this season, was released by the organization. The Australian hit .223 in 130 at-bats between Sacramento and Double-A Midland before his release.

Other News and Notes

- Stockton Ports' reliever Ryan Doolittle will miss the rest of the 2012 season and part of the 2013 campaign. The right-hander is undergoing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. Doolittle was in the middle of a standout season before he injured his elbow. In 34 innings for Low-A Burlington and High-A Stockton, Doolittle struck-out 43 and walked only three. Opposing batters hit only .180 against him and he had a 1.32 ERA. Doolittle missed the second half of the 2011 season with a flexor tendon strain in his elbow. He also missed the entire 2009 campaign with an arm injury. Doolittle was the A's 26th round pick in 2008. In 146 innings pitched in his career, he has struck-out 147 batters while walking only 18.

- A rare poor defensive game from first baseman Daric Barton spoiled an otherwise solid outing from starter Tyson Ross in Sacramento's extra-innings game against Tacoma. In 5.1 innings, Ross struck-out eight and walked two. He allowed five runs, but only two were earned. It was a good bounce-back outing for Ross, who walked six in three innings in his last start.

- The Vermont Lake Monsters tied a franchise record on Tuesday, playing 18 innings in their 4-3 loss to the Connecticut Tigers. The Lake Monsters actually took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 18th, but they lost on a two-out, two-run walk-off homer. The homer came after a two-out error by third baseman Chad Lewis. The losing pitcher was infielder Sam Roberts, who came into the game with two-outs in the bottom of the 17th inning and he recorded three outs before allowing the homer. The Lake Monsters used six pitchers and each pitcher except for Roberts threw at least two innings. Reliever Kurt Wunderlich struck-out seven in 4.2 scoreless innings. John Wooten had three hits in seven at-bats to lead the Lake Monsters' offense.

- The Swinging A's of Arizona continued their offensive onslaught on Tuesday. The A's pounded out 17 runs and 17 hits in their 17-7 win over the Giants. First-round picks Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson each had three hits and fellow first-round pick Addison Russell added two hits and two stolen bases. All three have OPSs above 900 this season. B.J. Boyd had two hits and a stolen base, raising his season stolen base total to 12. Vicmal De La Cruz had two hits and three RBIs and second baseman Melvin Mercedes had three hits. Mercedes has eight hits in 14 at-bats in his young career.

- B.A. Vollmuth hit a game-tying two-run homerun in the bottom of the 10th inning and Josh Whitaker hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to defeat the Inland Empire 66ers. The Ports were no-hit over the first seven innings of the game by 66ers starter Nick Maronde. Maronde struck-out 10. Vollmuth broke-up the no-hitter in the eighth inning and the game was scoreless until the top of the 10th when C.J. Cron hit a two-run homer for Inland Empire. But the Ports refused to go quietly, tying the game on Vollmuth's blast and ultimately winning it on Whitaker's 18th homer of the season.

- Dusty Coleman's eighth homerun wasn't enough for the Midland Rockhounds to defeat the Corpus Christi Hooks. The Rockhounds went down 6-0 early and never recovered. They managed only seven hits. Murphy Smith struggled in his start, walking five in 3.2 innings and allowing seven hits and three runs.

- On Monday, prospect Michael Ynoa made his fourth start of the season. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings against the AZL Cubs, walking two and striking out one. In five innings this season, he has allowed three runs on six hits and six walks. Ynoa has struck-out four. His velocity has sat in the 92-94 MPH range.

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