A's MLN: Cruz and Meyer Impress for Sacramento

When the A's sent Tim Hudson to Atlanta, they thought they were getting two pitchers in return who would make an immediate impact on the A's major league pitching staff. Through injuries and ineffectiveness, both Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer have yet to make an impact on the A's pitching staff. However, both pitchers figure to be an important part of the A's staff in future seasons. Cruz and Meyer were on the hill for the River Cats on Monday and they gave a hint of what could be to come.

When the A's made the decision to demote Juan Cruz to AAA, they did so in part to give Cruz a chance to build up his stamina to become a starting pitcher. Cruz has had success in the past as a starter in the Chicago Cubs chain and for the Dominican Winter League team, Licey. The mercurial right-hander has always indicated a preference for starting, so the A's – exasperated with his efforts as a reliever – were willing to give the talented youngster a chance to show what he can do as a starter.

Cruz was limited to three innings of work in his first appearance as a River Cat, but his leash was a little longer in his second appearance on Monday. He put together a dominating performance on Monday. In 5.1 innings of work, Cruz had 10 strike outs of the 16 outs that he recorded and he allowed zero runs. He gave up two hits and three walks. His control wasn't perfect, but Cruz was far more efficient in this outing then he was in the majority of his major league appearances this season.

Cruz gave way to reliever Marc Gwyn in the top of the sixth inning and Gwyn wiggled out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam to keep the River Cats' shut-out intact. Dan Meyer, the second pitcher the A's received in the Tim Hudson trade, came on for his second relief appearance since returning from the disabled list last week.

Meyer struggled in his first outing, allowing two runs and two hits in 0.2 innings. He was much better in his second outing. Meyer pitched a one-two-three inning in the seventh inning. He finished the inning by striking out rehabbing major league veteran Eric Young. Meyer then retired the first two batters of the eighth inning before allowing a walk to Adam Hyzdu and a single to Greg Sain. Closer Jairo Garcia came on and bailed Meyer out of that situation by striking out Josh Barfield.

Garcia was unable to hold the River Cats' narrow 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth. He struck out the first two hitters, but then allowed a single to Jesse Garcia and a walk to Young. Both runners advanced to scoring position when Garcia uncorked a wild pitch and they came around to score on a two-out base-hit by Bobby Scales. The River Cats were unable to score a run in the bottom of the inning and they lost the well-pitched battle by a final of 2-1.

Other Notes:

Freddie Bynum scored the River Cats' only run and went 2-3 with a walk to raise his batting average to .301. He left the game in the bottom of the ninth with a leg injury and it is unclear if the injury is serious. Bynum has been playing extremely well for the River Cats over the past few weeks.

• After a brief stint on the breavement list, outfielder Andre Ethier returned to the Midland line-up. He went 0-4 in the Rockhounds' 5-2 loss to Wichita.

Jason Perry's two-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh accounted for the Rockhounds' only runs. The homer was Perry's 14th of the year and he leads the team in that category.

Danny Putnam will appear in tomorrow's Single A All-Star Game in Frederick, MD.

• Starter Ryan Webb was in-line for a victory on Monday until the Kane County bullpen imploded, allowing 10 runs in the seventh inning to Beloit. The Cougars eventually lost the game, 14-5. Webb was constantly in trouble, but he managed to work around 12 base-runners to limit Wichita to four runs in six-plus innings.

• Second baseman Kevin Melillo led off the game with his eighth homerun of the year. He went 2-5 and is now hitting .280. Cliff Pennington went 1-5 and stole his first base of his professional career. Eddie Kim and Jose Pineda both drove in two runs. Kim has upped his average to .241 after finishing the first half at .230.

• Vancouver lost their second game of the season, as they fell to Tri-City, 5-2. Haas Pratt continued his assault on Northwest League pitching. He went 2-4 to bring his average up to .370. Steve Kleen collected his fourth double of the young season. Relievers Shawn Martinez and Steven-Ryder Carter allowed five runs in the last three innings of the game. Starter Joe Piekarz had a strong outing, going five shut-out innings. He allowed three hits and two walks and struck out six.

• The Rookie League Arizona A's scored three times in the ninth inning to ice a 5-1 victory over the Angels. Oakland reliever Chad Bradford made his second rehab appearance in less than a week. He pitched one shut-out inning, allowing one hit and striking out a batter. Bradford has now pitched two scoreless innings as part of his rehab from back surgery. TJ Franco followed Bradford's effort with five innings of his own. Franco allowed one run on three hits. Reliever Jose Lugo earned the win with 2.2 scoreless innings.

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