Weekend Notes: A's Claim Smolinski

It was a busy weekend of transactions around the Oakland A's system. Two outfielders were added to the Nashville Sounds' roster, while one was released. Also, A.J. Griffin landed back on the disabled list. We have all of those notes, plus more.

A's Claim Smolinski, Option Him to Nashville

The Nashville Sounds have been looking for an offensive spark all season, and newly claimed outfielder Jake Smolinski could provide that punch in the middle of the Nashville line-up. The A's claimed Smolinski off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Sunday and optioned the 26-year-old outfielder to Triple-A. Smolinski was batting .422 in 12 games for Triple-A Round Rock this season.

A's fans are likely familiar with Smolinski, who has appeared in 59 games for the Texas Rangers over the past two seasons. Smolinski has a .260/.337/.384 career line in the big leagues. The right-handed hitter opened some eyes last season with Texas when he hit .349 with a 904 OPS in 24 games. He struggled in three separate stints with the Rangers this season, however, batting .133/.270/.200 in 60 big league at-bats. He was 19-for-45 with four homers for Round Rock this season.

A second-round pick out of a Rockford, Illinois, high school in 2007 by the Washington Nationals, Smolinski was traded to the Florida Marlins before the 2009 season in a deal that brought Josh Willingham to Washington. Smolinski spent five seasons in the Marlins' chain, reaching as high as Triple-A, before leaving the organization after the 2013 season as a minor league free agent. He signed with Texas and earned a spot in the big leagues midway through the year after posting an 808 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A. He has a career minor league line of .266/.356/.404.

Smolinski didn't hit for much power early in his career, but he has increased his power production in recent years. He doesn't strike-out a lot (450 in 732 career minor league games) and he walks a decent amount (339). Smolinski will try to jump-start a Nashville offense that ranks last in the PCL in team OPS at 690.


Sounds Add Veteran Viciedo; A's Release Carson

In addition to the move to add Jake Smolinski, the A's officially placed Dayan Viciedo on the Nashville roster. To make room for Viciedo in Nashville, the A's released Matt Carson.

Viciedo signed with the A's as a minor-league free agent earlier this month and had been working out in Arizona at the A's complex. He appeared in two games for the Sounds over the weekend and had a hit (a triple) in eight at-bats.

The native of Cuba made his professional debut in 2009 in Double-A with the Chicago White Sox. He joined the White Sox's big league roster during the 2010 season and hit .308/.321/.519 in 38 big-league games. He spent most of the 2011 season in Triple-A, but then returned to Chicago full-time in 2012, hitting 25 homeruns. In 2013, he hit 14 homeruns for the White Sox and followed that up in 2014 with a 21-homer season.

Despite the good homerun numbers, Viciedo's overall game deteriorated during his final three seasons with the White Sox. He struggled defensively and posted OBPs of at or below .300. Viciedo did hit left-handed pitching well, however. He was without a team this season until the A's signed him to the minor-league deal. Viciedo is still just 26.

Carson leaves the A's organization after hitting .209/.296/.336 in 110 at-bats for the Sounds. He batted .179 in 59 at-bats with Oklahoma City before joining the A's in May. Carson is a 13-year minor league veteran with 92 career major-league games on his resume.


Griffin Lands on the Disabled List

On June 13th, the Oakland A's activated A.J. Griffin and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville to continue to build up arm strength as he returns from Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, his return hit a snag this weekend when he was placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury.

This is the second time Griffin's rehab has been delayed by right shoulder soreness. Griffin's fastball had been sitting in the low- to mid-80s in his starts with High-A Stockton and Triple-A Nashville. In his last start for Nashville, Griffin allowed a run on three hits and no walks in three innings. He struck-out two. The run Griffin allowed was a solo homer, his fifth homer allowed in 14.1 innings with Stockton and Nashville.


Vermont Receives Influx of Draft Picks

Over the weekend, the Vermont Lake Monsters added several members of the A's newest draft class. Pitchers Heath Bowers (24th-round), Kyle Friedrichs (7th-round), Jared Lyons (9th-round) and Evan Manarino (25th-round), as well as position players Mikey White (second-round), Ryan Howell (15th-round), Chris Iriart (12th-round), Skye Bolt (4th-round) and Steven Pallares (10th-round) all made the trek from the A's rookie mini-camp to the New York-Penn League.

Several of the 2015 draft picks made their pro debuts with Vermont this weekend. Pallares had a hit and a walk in two official at-bats, while Bolt went 1-for-4. White (0-for-3), Iriart (0-for-3 with a walk) and Howell (0-for-4) are still looking for their first pro hits. None of the draft pick pitchers debuted with Vermont this weekend. The Lake Monsters were swept in a three-game series versus Lowell to start the season.


Draft Picks Debut with Arizona A's

Several A's 2015 draft picks made their debuts with the AZL A's this weekend, as well. Nick Collins (8th-round), Shane Conlon (34th-round), Brett Siddall (13th-round) and James Terrell (11th-round) all played in the AZL A's opener on Saturday night. Terrell had a hit in four at-bats, while Siddall walked three times. Well-regarded graduates of the A's Dominican Academy Jhonny Rodriguez, Eric Marinez and Carlos Hiciano made their US debuts in the game. Rodriguez had a hit, an RBI and a walk, while Marinez picked up a hit and an RBI in four at-bats. Miguel Mercedes - a returning member of the AZL A's - had two hits and a walk in three official at-bats. The AZL A's lost to the AZL Angels, 4-2.


Other News and Notes

- Matt Chapman sent the Stockton Ports into the California League All-Star break in style with go-ahead homers in three consecutive games. The Ports are now six games over .500 and on a nine-game winning streak. They finished the first half four games back of the division-winner Visalia Rawhide. Stockton will enter the second half of the season in a good position to make a run for at least a wild card spot in the Cal League. Chapman's homer barrage brought his season total up to 11 in just 41 games. He has a .544 SLG and an 872 OPS.

- Shortstop Wade Kirkland made his fifth career appearance on the mound in the RockHounds' 15-inning loss to Frisco on Sunday night. Kirkland allowed a walk-off run in the bottom of the 15th. It was the first time he has been hung with a loss in any of his professional pitching appearances. He had two hits in six at-bats as a shortstop before taking the mound.


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