Oakland A's MLN: Injury Comebacks Continue

A handful of Oakland A's prospects have been battling injuries and are on the comeback trail towards getting healthy. We check in on a few of these comebacks and also see how A's supplemental first round pick Travis Buck did in his first game as a member of the Oakland A's organization in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook…

Injuries have hit the A's minor league pitching staffs hard this season. That trend continued on Tuesday when Kane County announced that 2004 second round pick Michael Rogers was placed on the disabled list with a back strain. While some pitchers are still on the shelf, a number have come off the disabled list and have begun throwing again. Top pitching prospects Dan Meyer, Brad Sullivan, Brad Knox, Shane Komine and Ben Fritz have all missed significant time due to injury this season and all five are back on the mound. So how are they doing?

Meyer's season began with an injury, although no one knew it at the time. Meyer came into spring training with a chance to make the major league roster and in his eagerness to win a spot, he kept the knowledge that his left shoulder was sore to himself. After a rough first month of the season, Meyer was shut down for much of May and June to build up strength in that shoulder. When he returned to the Sacramento roster, he was kept on tight leash. Lately, Meyer has been allowed to throw more pitches and, on Tuesday, he had his longest outing since returning to the active roster.

Meyer was hung with the loss, but it was of the hard-luck variety. The New Jersey native allowed only one run in 5.2 innings of work. He had to battle base-runners all night, as he gave up ten hits. However, only one of those hits went for extra-bases and he was able to strand 11 Portland runners. Meyer struck out four and walked only one. The River Cats were silenced by Portland starter Justin Germano and Meyer and Sacramento fell, 2-1.

Brad Sullivan was not so successful on Tuesday night. In his second start for Stockton since returning from injury, Sullivan was crushed by the Modesto Nuts offense. The Nuts tagged Sullivan for eight hits and seven runs in only 2.2 innings of work. He allowed three homeruns and struck out only one batter. Sullivan's comeback from injury has been far from smooth. He posted a 9.26 ERA in 11.2 innings for the A's Rookie League team before being recalled to Stockton. In his first start with the Ports, Sullivan allowed only one earned run in four innings, but he walked six. He has a long way to go to get back to the form that made him a first round pick in 2003.

Sullivan's Stockton teammate Brad Knox has had a lot more success since coming off of the DL. Knox missed the first six weeks of the season with a back injury and he joined the Ports starting rotation in mid-May. He has made 11 starts and has gotten better with each one. Knox, who was one of the Midwest League's top starters last season, has a 3.57 ERA in 63 innings for Stockton. He has struck out 50 and has walked only 17 in going 5-3. Sullivan could be in-line for a promotion to AA-Midland if a Midland starter is sent to Sacramento to replace the now-retired River Cats starter Steve Sparks.

A pair of former Midland Rockhound starters have begun the long journey back from Tommy John surgery down in Arizona. Shane Komine recently returned to the mound for the first time since he went down in mid-season 2004. Komine has made three modified starts for the A's Rookie League team during which he has pitched 5.1 total innings. He has struck out eight batters in those 5.1 innings, but he has walked three and has allowed six hits. Fellow 2004 Rockhound Ben Fritz has been throwing with the Arizona Rookie League team and he should return to live action soon.

Other Notes:

-- Brian Snyder, who was the Oakland A's top third base prospect coming into this season, returned to live action for the first time since spring training on Tuesday. He was the DH in the Rookie A's 5-3 win over the Rookie Mariners. Snyder went 0-1 with a walk, a strike out and a run scored before being lifted in the fifth inning.

-- A's 2005 supplemental first round draft choice Travis Buck got his professional career off on a high note, as he crushed a three-run homerun in his third professional at-bat. He also collected an RBI single and was caught stealing. Buck hit third for the Canadians on Tuesday in Vancouver's 8-4 win over Tri-City.

-- Javier Herrera went off in the Kane County Cougars' huge 17-4 win over Wisconsin. The talented, five-tool centerfielder went 3-6 with a three-run homerun and six RBI. He also doubled and scored three runs. The homer was Herrera's seventh of the year. Cliff Pennington went 2-4 with two walks and two runs scored out of the lead-off spot for Kane County. DH Raul Padron also had a big game, going 2-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Every Cougar hitter had at least one hit and all but one scored at least one run.

-- Midland outfielder Jason Perry crushed his 16th and 17th homeruns of the season in the Rockhounds' 4-3 win over Corpus Christi. Perry has struggled at times this season to keep his batting average over .250, but he has had good power numbers all season. Perry has 42 extra-base hits in 297 at-bats.

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