Oakland A's MLN: Transaction-Mania

Mother's Day weekend was an active one in the Oakland A's organization, as a number of transactions were made on the major league and minor league level. Some of the moves were a result of the myriad of injuries plaguing the A's 25-man roster and other moves came as a result of a surprising departure from the Sacramento River Cats. We have a rundown on the weekend's moves inside this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook…

The roller-coaster weekend in the A's organization began on Friday when a flurry of moves were made to compensate for the A's weakened bullpen, which was missing Justin Duchscherer and Joe Kennedy, who at the time were listed as day-to-day. The A's sent reliever Matt Roney down to AAA after Roney had pitched in the games on Wednesday and Thursday, which made him unavailable to pitch on Friday or Saturday. He allowed only one run in three big league innings with the A's during his brief major league stint. Roney was back in action on Sunday for the River Cats and he threw 2.2 innings in relief for Sacramento, allowing only one unearned run and lowering his AAA ERA to 2.04.

To replace Roney on the 25-man roster, the A's called up major league veteran Randy Keisler, who had been starting for the River Cats. Keisler, a crafty left-hander, had a 2.94 ERA for Sacramento and will be able to give the A's innings out of the bullpen since he has been stretched out as a starter. Keisler made his Oakland A's debut in relief of Barry Zito on Friday evening and allowed one run in two solid innings.

Keisler was not on the A's 40-man roster, so Oakland had to drop a player from the 40-man to make room for him. That player turned out to be Sacramento reliever Chris Mabeus, who had been on the 40-man roster since the start of the 2005 season. The Alaska native was designated for assignment and will have to clear waivers to return to the Oakland organization.

To fill Mabeus' spot on the River Cats' roster, the A's promoted right-hander Alex Santos from AA-Midland. Santos, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training, had an outstanding 2005 campaign when he saved 26 games for A-Stockton and AA-Midland. He finished the year in AAA-Sacramento, working 4.1 perfect innings. Santos had four saves for Midland and a 5.23 ERA before his promotion. He worked a scoreless inning for Sacramento in their 7-3 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.

The River Cats also lost another important part of their pitching staff on Saturday when the A's recalled right-hander Chad Gaudin for the second time this season. Gaudin replaced Duchscherer on the 25-man roster after Duchscherer's elbow soreness worsened over the weekend, necessitating a DL stint. Gaudin was thrown into the fire right away, as he worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief against the Yankees on Saturday. Gaudin has been starting for Sacramento and relieving for Oakland. Like Keisler, Gaudin can give the A's a lot of innings out of the bullpen. When Gaudin was sent to Oakland, right-hander Adam Johnson was sent back up to Sacramento from Stockton. Johnson has been yo-yoing between the two teams all season.

The A's announced one more move on Sunday, as they completed a trade with the Cleveland Indians to acquire right-hander Steve Karsay. Karsay began his major league career with Oakland in 1993 and has bounced around from Cleveland to Atlanta to New York to Texas since being traded away from the A's in 1997. Karsay has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but he was pitching well for the Indians' AAA club this season. In 18 appearances for Buffalo, Karsay had allowed only 12 hits and four earned runs. He struck out 14 and walked one for the Bisons. Karsay is expected to join the River Cats by Monday and could be in Oakland soon if he pitches well for Sacramento.

Earlier in the week, the A's made a flurry of moves to the River Cats' pitching rotation. Starter Jason Windsor and reliever Shawn Kohn were promoted to AAA after strong starts to their seasons at AA-Midland. Windsor won his AAA debut for Sacramento with a solid 6.1 inning outing on Thursday. Heading the other direction was reliever Marcus McBeth, who was sent to AA after struggling in his first few weeks at AAA. He has been outstanding in his first two AA appearances and could be back in AAA before long. McBeth has allowed only two hits in three AA innings and has yet to walk a batter.

Another series of transactions was set into motion on Saturday with the announcement that Sacramento outfielder Matt Watson had elected to go to Japan to continue his professional career. Watson was hitting .317 with five homers and 28 RBI at the time of the announcement. He will be playing for Bobby Valentine's Chiba Lotte Marines.

Watson, a fan favorite in Sacramento since 2004, was one of the River Cats' best players over the past three seasons. He never hit lower than .305 in his two-plus seasons with Sacramento and he drove in a career-high 96 runs in 2004. Watson was a AAA All-Star in 2005, and he hit a homerun in front of the home crowd at Raley Field at the mid-summer classic. He appeared in 19 games with Oakland last season, collecting nine hits, including three doubles. Watson leaves for Japan with a .307 career minor league batting average.

Watson's departure was a big blow to the River Cats' offense, so the A's chose to promote the Midland Rockhounds' most productive offensive player this season to take Watson's place. Outfielder Jason Perry received his first career promotion to AAA. At the time of his departure from Midland, he was leading the Texas League with a .402 batting average and he had four homers and 17 RBI in 28 games. He appeared in the River Cats' Saturday and Sunday games and went 0-7 with a walk.

Replacing Perry in Midland was another hot-hitting outfielder, 2005 supplemental first round pick Travis Buck. Buck was leading the Stockton Ports in virtually every offensive category before his weekend promotion to AA. In 34 games for Stockton, Buck batted .349 with three homers and 26 RBI. He walked 14 times against 18 strikeouts and collected a minor league best 17 doubles. Buck added his 18th double of the season on Sunday for the Midland Rockhounds. He started on Saturday and Sunday and went 2-8 with a walk and three strikeouts for Midland.


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