Oakland A's MLN: Parrino Happy To Be Back

WEST SACRAMENTO - It has been a strange start to his 2014 season, but infielder Andy Parrino is happy with where he is at. Parrino returned to the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday in style, reaching base three times. We have notes on his return, Tim Atherton's flirtation with history and all of the other news from around the A's organization.

Infielder Andy Parrino's journey through the land of waivers ended this week in a familiar place – back in the Oakland A's organization and on the roster of the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.

After spending all of the 2013 season with either Oakland or Sacramento, Parrino was designated for assignment by the A's during spring training to make room on the 40-man roster for infielder Jake Elmore, who was claimed off of waivers by the A's from the Chicago White Sox organization. Ironically both Parrino and Elmore made their River Cats' debuts on Thursday night (Elmore has been on the A's disabled list since Opening Day with a strained quad and he began his big league rehab assignment with Sacramento on Thursday).

Parrino's first trip through waivers this spring was short, as he landed in the Texas Rangers' organization just five days after he was DFA'd by Oakland. His stay with the Rangers was also short-lived. Parrino spent just two weeks with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock before he was DFA'd again. The A's claimed him three days later.

Although it has been an up-and-down start to his 2014 season, Parrino is happy to be back where he started this spring.

"It's pretty exciting to be able to come back here. I always liked it here," Parrino said on Thursday. "I had a mini-vacation. Got to spend some time with my family, so that was nice, too."

The versatile Parrino appeared in games at shortstop, second base and third base with Oakland last season and saw time at all three of those positions with the River Cats in 2013, as well. Parrino says he prefers to play shortstop and he made his first start with the River Cats at short, but he doesn't know if that will be his regular position with the team moving forward.

"Tonight I'm playing short. We'll see after that," Parrino said.

"I grew up playing shortstop. I think everybody growing up plays shortstop and it tends to be everyone's favorite position, especially if you are in the infield. Shortstop's the way to go."

When a player is DFA'd during the regular season, it can often be disruptive not just because he has to switch teams, but also because he often has to sit without a team to workout with for days at a time. Parrino had a week off between games, but he didn't show any rust, as he had two hits, a walk and an RBI on Thursday. He also handled all of his chances at shortstop flawlessly.

"Hopefully, I'll just jump right back in, but we'll see how it goes here," Parrino said before the game. "I won't try to do too much at the start as I get my body back in shape."

Parrino's focus for this season is the same as last year. The 2013 River Cats' defensive player of the year is well aware of his strengths and his goal is to help his team win by playing good defense and doing the little things on offense.

Although Parrino joins the River Cats part-way through the season, he doesn't anticipate any issues blending in with his "new/old" team. Parrino said the A's organization in general was a good fit for him last season.

"They make it really easy over here [to get adjusted]," Parrino said. "They have great coaches and hopefully I can jump right back in like I didn't miss a beat."

System Notes

-- Stockton Ports' starter Tim Atherton flirted with history on Thursday night, putting together the most impressive pitching performance in the A's system thus far this season. Atherton retired the first 22 batters he faced before allowing a one-out double in the eighth inning. He would then allow another hit and finished the game with 7.1 innings pitched. He gave up just two hits and one run. Atherton struck-out nine and didn't walk a batter.

The Ports didn't need much offense on Thursday, but they got two homeruns to earn the 5-1 win. Matt Olson hit a solo homerun in the third and Ryon Healy hit a long two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth. Wade Kirkland and Aaron Shipman each had two hits and an RBI. Austin House pitched the final 1.2 innings to earn the save. He struck-out two, walked two and didn't allow a hit.

-- In a game marked with whacky plays in the field, the El Paso Chihuahuas defeated the Sacramento River Cats by a score of 5-1 in El Paso's first-ever game at Raley Field. Josh Lindblom took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in 6.1 innings. He walked one and struck-out four. Reliever Paul Smyth was charged with a run in the top of the ninth.

The River Cats didn't have much going on offense, as Andy Parrino was the only Sacramento hitter to collect more than one hit. Kyle Blanks homered for El Paso and Rico Noel had three hits and four stolen bases. Noel was also caught stealing home on an odd play. Raymond Fuentes swung and missed strike three with Noel running on the pitch. Noel was tagged out at home, but because it was a wild pitch, Fuentes took off and reached second base on the play. He was then picked off of second to end the inning. On another wild play, Blanks hit a shallow flyball to centerfield with Cameron Maybin on third and Travis Buck on second. Maybin thought the ball would be caught, but when it dropped in front of a sprinting Shane Peterson, Maybin took off for home. Peterson launched a perfect throw home and nabbed Maybin by several feet. Your typical single and 8-2 putout.

Before the game, infielder Jake Elmore was added to the River Cats' roster on a rehab assignment. He played five innings in his first rehab game. Parrino was also added to the roster officially and infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a leg contusion.

-- The Midland Rockhounds fell behind early and never caught-up with the Corpus Christi Hooks in a 9-3 loss. Andrew Werner got the spot start for the RockHounds and he lasted just 1.2 innings. He allowed three runs on four hits. Werner was starting because right-hander Raul Alcantara had his spot in the rotation skipped this week after experiencing elbow soreness in his last start.

Ryan Doolittle made his Midland debut in relief of Werner. The right-hander pitched 2.2 innings, and he allowed two hits and a walk and one run. He struck-out three. Jesus Castillo was touched for four runs in 2.1 innings. Blake Hassebrock finished off the game with 1.1 innings of relief. He allowed a run on two hits. Chad Oberacker led the team offensively with three hits and an RBI. Dusty Coleman reached base three times with two hits and a walk.

-- The Beloit Snappers' bullpen had a late-game meltdown, turning an 8-3 lead into a 10-8 deficit in the bottom of the eighth and the Snappers fell to the Kane County Cougars by that score. Lee Sosa (three runs) and Stuart Pudenz (four runs) were charged with the seven runs in the eighth. Pudenz was hung with the loss. Chris Lamb got the start and tossed four scoreless innings. Lamb started because it was raining at the beginning of the game. Once it was clear the rain would hold off, scheduled starter Dylan Covey came into the game. He lasted just 1.2 innings, however, walking four and allowing three runs.

The Snappers' offense was on-track early in the game. Beloit scored in each of the first four innings to take a 7-0 lead. Jaycob Brugman finished 3-for-5 and was just a homer short of the cycle. Ryan Huck also had a triple and went 2-for-5, while Sam Roberts picked up two hits and a walk.

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