Oakland A's MLN: Desert Dogs Keep Winning

The Phoenix Desert Dogs dominated in the Arizona desert last season and they are well on their way to a similarly dominating winter league campaign this year. With the help of Oakland A's prospects Andre Ethier and Daric Barton, the Desert Dogs took their fifth straight win on Monday to up their record to 9-2. Find out how the A's prospects are faring in the desert and all of the other news around the A's organization in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook...

A's Hitting Prospects Swinging Hot Bats In AFL

The rain came early on Monday and shortened the Desert Dogs' contest with the Mesa Solar Sox to seven innings, and that was a blessing for the poor Solar Sox. It seems only an act of God can cool off the Desert Dogs' bats these days. Phoenix got to work early again on Monday, scoring nine runs before they made their fourth out. Mesa starter Brian Burres allowed three runs in the first and then let the first six batters in the second inning reach before he was lifted for former San Francisco Giant David Aardsma. Aardsma allowed all three of his inherited runners to score and the Desert Dogs finished the second inning up 9-0.

The Arizona Fall League is traditionally a hitter's paradise and the A's hitting prospects are taking full advantage of that. Andre Ethier continued his red-hot fall league with an RBI single in the first. He would finish with a hit, a walk, a hit by pitch and a .414 batting average. Ethier has reached base at better than a .500 clip and he has driven in eight runs in eight games played.

Daric Barton hasn't been too far off of Ethier's electric pace. The first-baseman drove in two runs on a first inning triple that chased home Ethier and Stephen Drew. Those two runs batted in were Barton's seventh and eighth of the AFL season. He is now hitting .320 with a .480 on-base percentage and a nice nine to five, walk to strikeout ratio. He has four extra-base hits in 25 at-bats.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki hasn't played as much as Barton or Ethier, but he has performed when he has been given the opportunity. Suzuki is hitting .333 with five RBIs in four games. He also has three walks against two strikeouts. Suzuki is sharing time with two other catchers on the Desert Dogs' roster.

Oakland A's News

A's To Square Off With River Cats In Spring

The Oakland A's will face off with their AAA brethren on March 30 in a spring training contest at Raley Field. The exhibition game will begin at 6:35 pm and tickets can be purchased as part of the River Cats' full season ticket pass. Single game tickets will be available closer to Opening Day. The A's will potentially have 21 players on their roster who played for the River Cats at one time or another.

Payton To Return; Yabu Out

The Oakland A's announced on Monday that they are exercising their team option on outfielder Jay Payton. Payton's option is worth $4 million. They also announced that they would be buying out the contract of Japanese rookie Keiichi Yabu. The buyout will cost the A's $250,000.

Payton was a mid-season acquisition for the A's and he showed his worth immediately. The former New York Mets farmhand hit 13 homeruns in only 69 games for the A's after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox during the All-Star break. Payton also played outstanding defense in center and left-field. His defense was invaluable in center when Mark Kotsay was sidelined with a back injury. Payton will likely receive significant playing time in left-field and will serve as Kotsay's back-up in center next season.

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