There has been plenty of activity at Fitch Park in Mesa over the past few weeks. First, several players have "graduated" from extended spring training to full season squads in the recent days. Yairo Munoz (foot/heel) and Lana Akau (concussion symptoms) completed their rehab programs and were assigned to Double-A Midland and High-A Stockton, respectively. Both have already made impacts with their new clubs. Munoz has four hits over his first 11 at-bats with Midland, including a homer. He has walked once, as well. Akau has two hits in nine at-bats for Stockton and is one-for-two in throwing out would-be base-stealers.
Pitchers Brendan Butler and Cody Stull were assigned to the Stockton Ports' staff out of extended spring training last week, as well. Stull allowed a run and struck-out two in 1.2 innings in his Stockton debut and Butler earned a win in his three-inning debut for the Ports. He allowed a run and struck-out four. Mike Fagan got the call to Low-A Beloit after pitching well during extended spring training. He threw a scoreless 1.1 innings in his 2016 debut with the Snappers.
There are plenty of other pitchers who could be candidates to move to full-season clubs in the near future. Ryan Gorton and Tanner Peters continue to build up innings after missing spring training rehabbing injuries. Both are throwing well and looking strong. A's 2014 fourth-round pick Jordan Schwartz has also looked very good during this extended spring training program. He has had consistently strong outings and has shown the ability to get himself back on course on the rare occasions when he has struggled.
Other pitchers who have had strong outings lately include Heath Bowers and Branden Kelliher. Brett Sunde, Max Kuhn, Branden Cogswell and Alex Glenn continue to ease back into a regular playing schedule as they recover from injuries. James Terrell is still about three weeks away from baseball activities as he recovers from hamate bone surgery. Richie Martin (knee) continues to make good progress in his rehab and could return to the field soon.
Normally an outfielder, Jhonny Rodriguez continues to get playing time at first base. The position looks like a good fit for Rodriguez, who will now be more versatile when he lands on an affiliate's roster. The sweet swing is still there for the native of the Dominican Republic.
There is no news yet on the injury to Dustin Driver, who left a recent start with the Snappers with pain in his throwing elbow. He is expected to be back in Mesa soon.
Other news and notes
- Jesus Zambrano landed on the Beloit disabled list over the weekend.
- With the arrival of Munoz in Midland, the RockHounds' infield has shifted around a bit. Franklin Barreto has played two games at second base and Matt Chapman got a start at shortstop over the weekend. Both received positive reviews at those positions. Expect Barreto, Munoz and Chapman to continue playing "off position" at times this season to increase their versatility.
- Right-hander Daniel Mengden earned a promotion to Triple-A Nashville this weekend after a strong start with Midland. He will make his Triple-A debut on Monday as the Sounds return to Nashville.