There were a number of roster changes throughout the Oakland A's system on Thursday. With injuries on the A's roster cutting deep into the Sacramento River Cats' pitching staff, there was a ripple effect of pitchers moving up throughout the system.
With Connor Robertson up in Oakland, the River Cats were down a pitcher until the A's sent Kazuhito Tadano to Sacramento from Midland. Tadano, who spent much of the 2006 season in Sacramento, was off to a good start in Midland. He had been acting as a starting pitcher for the Rockhounds, although it is possible that he will appear in relief for Sacramento. The River Cats' rotation is currently full.
The River Cats also added another pitcher at the end of the day on Thursday. Left-hander Dallas Braden was optioned back to Triple-A after allowing five runs in 5.1 innings versus the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. The newly promoted Robertson made his major league debut on Thursday, allowing one run on three hits in 1.2 innings. He struck out two, including his first batter.
The A's did not immediately announce who would replace Braden on the roster; however, it is believed that the A's will call up a reliever for the weekend series against the Giants. They will need a fifth starter again on Tuesday. Colby Lewis and Jason Windsor are strong candidates for the starting nod next week. Ron Flores is a strong candidate to be called up this weekend. He did not work on Thursday in the River Cats' 5-4 win over Colorado Springs. Erasmo Ramirez and Brad Ziegler, two other relief candidates, did work on Thursday for their respective affiliates.
Replacing Tadano in Midland was right-hander Ryan Webb, who was also off to a strong start this season. This is Webb's first trip to Double-A after a season and a third in Single-A with Stockton. The Ports will need to add another pitcher, although the A's hadn't announced who that pitcher would be as of Thursday evening.
In Kane County, James Heuser was reinstated from the inactive list. Heuser earned the win for Kane County on Thursday. He took the place of righty Craig Italiano, who was placed on the DL with a fractured skull. He was struck by a line-drive on Tuesday. Italiano was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon.
- Kevin Melillo hit a game-tying, two-run homer and drove-in the winning run with a ground-rule double in the River Cats' come-from-behind win over Colorado Springs. Melillo was batting third, taking the place of Hiram Bocachica, who was promoted to Oakland on Wednesday. The homer was Melillo's fourth of the season. He has 28 RBIs, tops on the team.
- Jason Perry also homered for Sacramento. After struggling last season in Triple-A, Perry has been red-hot since joining the River Cats from Double-A Midland. Perry is batting .394 with 10 RBI in only 33 at-bats.
- Nick Blasi is another player taking advantage of an opportunity at Triple-A. Called up as an emergency fill-in on May 6, Blasi has become a fixture in Sacramento's line-up, as injuries and promotions have cut deeply into the Sacramento outfield depth chart. Blasi went 2-4 on Thursday and is hitting .366 for Sacramento.
- Ben Fritz and Brad Ziegler combined to throw a seven-hit shut-out versus Corpus Christi on Thursday. Midland eeked out two runs in the eighth inning to win 2-0.
- Both Midland runs came on Gregorio Petit's second homerun of the season. He went 2-4 and is hitting .331 on the season. It was the second straight game that Petit has homered. He has a 784 OPS and is increasing his prospect status every day. Petit has a six-game hitting streak, during which he is 10-14 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs. He is only 22 and is one of the top fielding infielders in the A's system and is showing this season that he can handle the bat, as well.
- Trent Peterson left his start after one batter on Thursday and the Ports dropped their series finale against Inland Empire by a score of 5-0. Stockton managed only seven hits, two of which came from Luke Appert, who is hitting .357.
- James Heuser dropped his ERA to 3.25 and won his second game on Thursday. The Cougars won their third straight game for the first time this season, by a score of 6-3. Mike Massaro was the star of the game, going 4-4 with a walk in the lead-off spot. Massaro is batting .339.
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