The sight of infielder Marco Scutaro starting in left field for the Oakland A's on Sunday might have finally been enough incentive for A's General Manager Billy Beane to acquire another outfielder. Oakland made a much-needed move on Sunday, acquiring outfielder Ryan Langerhans from the Atlanta Braves for cash or a player to be named later.
Langerhans has been struggling at the plate since the start of the season, something that he will have in common with many of his new Oakland A's teammates. However, the outfielder brings some needed versatility to the A's roster, as he can play all three outfield positions at an above-average level.
The 27-year-old Texas native is batting only .068 on the season. He collected his first extra-base hit (a double) and his first RBI of the season in Sunday's game before he was pulled in the 10th inning and told he was traded. Langerhans has seen significant time in left field for the Atlanta Braves over the past two seasons, appearing in 128 games in 2005 and 131 games in 2006. In 2005, Langerhans hit .267 with eight homers and a 774 OPS in 326 at-bats. His average and OPS fell to .241 and 728 in 2006. He had been platooning in left with Matt Diaz in Atlanta.
Langerhans should receive plenty of playing time in Oakland, at least initially. With Nick Swisher and Milton Bradley nursing hamstring injuries, Langerhans will likely take over as the team's primary centerfielder until Mark Kotsay returns from the disabled list in June. To save their legs, Bradley and Swisher will likely see more time in the corners and, in Swisher's case, at first base once they are healthy.
To make room for Langerhans on the A's 25-man roster, Oakland optioned left-hander Dallas Braden to Triple-A. Braden struggled in his second start with the A's, allowing three homers and five runs in 4.1 innings. He did strike out five, but he walked three and was generally pitching from behind in the count for much of the game. The A's won't need a fifth starter this week, as they have off-days on Monday, Thursday and next Monday. The A's could call on Braden again as soon as May 10 when they next need a fifth starter if Esteban Loaiza isn't ready to return from the disabled list.
The A's did not have to make room for Langerhans on the 40-man roster because Chris Denorfia, whom the team acquired for Marcus McBeth and a player to be named later on Friday, is on the 60-day DL and, therefore, does not count against the 40-man roster.
Rosters Shift Throughout The System
The Stockton Ports' pitching staff changed considerably this week. Stockton welcomed right-handers Jose Guzman, Leonardo Espinal, Eric Sheridan and Jeff Muessig and left-hander Derek Tharpe. They said good-bye to right-handers Mike Madsen and Luis Ramirez and left-handers Brad Kilby and Steven Bondurant. All four were promoted to Double-A Midland. Right-hander Brad Sullivan landed on the disabled list, joining Jared Lansford and Jason Ray.
The Rockhounds also added right-hander Dan Denham, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians organization. Denham was the second former Indians pitcher to be added to the Midland roster over the past 10 days. Right-hander Travis Foley was also acquired from Cleveland this month. Both have appeared in the Rockhounds' bullpen since arriving in the A's organization. Foley and Denham were both draft picks of the Indians in 2001 and were among Cleveland's top pitching prospects for a time. However, both saw their careers stall at Double-A with Cleveland.
Midland said good-bye to a few pitchers themselves this weekend. Lefty Dan Meyer was promoted to Sacramento after one rehab start with the Rockhounds. Meyer made his 2007 Sacramento debut on Sunday and earned the win by allowing only one run in 5 innings. Right-hander Brad Knox, who was off to a red-hot start for Midland, was promoted to Sacramento. He will be making his debut at the Triple-A level. Knox was 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings for the Rockhounds this far this season. Sacramento welcomed back Lou Merloni from the disabled list this week. He had missed time with vertigo, likely caused by a beaning his incurred during spring training.
Left-hander Brad Halsey has been placed on the disabled list. Catcher Jeremy Brown has also been placed on Sacramento's disabled list. He was replaced on the roster by Adam Melhuse. Left fielder Brian Stavisky is also on the disabled list for Sacramento. The River Cats also lost closer Marcus McBeth, who was traded to Cincinnati for Denorfia.
- Starter Dan Meyer's return to Triple-A was a successful one. Meyer limited the Salt Lake Bees to four hits and a walk in five innings. The River Cats beat the Angels' Triple-A affiliate by a score of 6-2. Meyer threw 79 pitches, 52 were strikes. It was Meyer's first win of the season. The left-hander is finally healthy again after two injury plagued seasons that culminated in Meyer having surgery on his shoulder last season.
- Adam Melhuse made his debut for the River Cats this weekend. He went 1-4 on Saturday and went 2-4 as Sacramento's catcher on Sunday. Melhuse was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Dan Johnson earlier in the week.
- Kevin Melillo had a huge series versus Salt Lake. He went eight for 15 with five runs scored, four doubles, a homer and eight RBI. The homer was his first of the season. Melillo has upped his OPS to 859 for the season. He has walked 15 times in 21 games. Melillo is batting .341 over his last 10 games.
- Daric Barton broke a streak of 12 hitless at-bats with a two for three effort on Saturday. He drove-in three runs during that game. Barton had one hit in four at-bats on Sunday. He has struggled of late and is hitting only .235 on the season.
- Donnie Murphy is working on a five-game hitting streak that has raised his average up to .313 for the season. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games and is batting .325 over that time period.
- Gregorio Petit has been red-hot for Midland. The shortstop had three hits on Sunday, his fifth multi-hit game in his last 10 outings. Petit is hitting .312.
- Mike Madsen had an impressive first outing for Midland on Saturday. Madsen allowed only two hits and one walk in limiting San Antonio to one run over six innings. He is off to a strong start to the season, having allowed 10 runs in 30 innings over five starts this season.
- Dan Denham made his debut with Midland on Saturday, throwing one scoreless inning. Denham was traded to the A's on Thursday.
- Luke Appert's hitting streak came to an end on Saturday, but he got right back in the hit column on Sunday, collecting two hits and two walks for Stockton in the Ports' 18-8 loss. Appert drove-in three and upped his average to .435. He has 16 RBIs in 20 games.
- Jose Pineda hit his fourth homerun for the Ports on Sunday. He has only five hits in 23 at-bats for Stockton, but four of those hits have left the yard.
- Catcher Raul Padron made his pitching debut for the Ports on Sunday. Stockton was rocked after starter Ben Jukich allowed six runs in 1.2 innings of work and reliever Leonardo Espinal allowed six runs of his own in two innings, while Derek Tharpe allowed four runs in two innings. Padron allowed one run in one inning of work.
- Craig Italiano had a strange outing on Sunday for Kane County. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out six in only four innings, but he allowed six hits and five runs. Italiano is still rebuilding his arm strength after missing most of last season after undergoing surgery on his labrum.
- Jermaine Mitchell has turned around his season after a rough beginning. Mitchell had five hits in seven at-bats on Saturday and Sunday, which upped his average to a season-high .279.
- Scott Deal had his best outing of the season on Saturday. He allowed only one run in seven innings, scattering eight hits and two walks. Deal has a 1-1 record and a 4.07 ERA on the season.