Oakland A's MLN: Midland All-Stars; 13 Sign

The Midland Rockhounds will be strongly represented at the Texas League All-Star game on June 26. Find out which Rockhounds are heading to the mid-season classic, as well as the names of the 13 draft picks signed by the Oakland A's on Wednesday, which 2006 draft pick was traded and which major league veteran inked a minor league deal with Oakland this week...

Eight Rockhounds All-Star Bound

The Midland Rockhounds have been one of the Texas League's top teams in 2007 and that success is reflected in the number of all-stars the team is sending to the Texas League All-Star game on June 26. The Texas League announced this week that SS Gregorio Petit, C Landon Powell, OF Richie Robnett, 2B Brian Snyder and pitchers Ben Fritz, Mike Madsen, Steven Sharpe and Andrew Shipman have been named to the Texas League South Division team.

Petit has had a strong year at the plate and in the field for the Rockhounds. The slick-fielding shortstop is batting .301 in 58 games. He has improved his OBP from .310 last season in High-A Stockton to .354 this season. He also has improved his slugging percentage 30 points.

Powell got off to a very slow start at the plate, but he has been red-hot in June and has been solid on defense all season. In 12 June games, Powell is batting .449 with five homers in only 53 at-bats. He is hitting .276 on the year with 30 RBI and eight homers. Powell currently has a 13-game hitting streak.

Robnett extended his season-best hitting streak to 18 games on Wednesday and is batting .258 after getting off to a slow start himself this season. He has 35 RBI and seven homers in 243 at-bats this season.

Snyder has been one of the A's most improved minor league players this season. After struggling to hit .200 in half of a season at Double-A last year, Snyder is batting .316 for the Rockhounds this season. He has also made a smooth transition to second base from third. His OBP is .419 and he has 26 extra-base hits and 31 RBI.

Fritz has been one of the Rockhounds' most steady pitchers this season. The right-hander has a 6-2 record and a 3.65 ERA in 12 starts. Fritz went 4-0 in May and has had ERAs under 3.86 in April, May and half of June.

Despite spending the first month of the season in Stockton, Madsen has been one of the stars of the Texas League this season. In nine starts for the Rockhounds, Madsen is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 53.1 innings. He has struck out at least five in all but two of his starts at Double-A. He has held opposing batters to a .238 BAA.

Shipman has served as a swingman for the Rockhounds, starting eight games and relieving eight games. He has a 4-2 record and a 3.94 ERA. He allowed nine runs in his last outing, but before that, had not allowed more than three runs in all but one of his outings.

Sharpe will be an all-star for the second straight year. He was a Midwest League All-Star in 2006. Sharpe has been the team's closer for most of the season. He has a 3-1 record and nine saves. In 22 innings, Sharpe has walked only four and has a 2.45 ERA. He had 19 saves for Stockton and Kane County last season.

The Texas League All-Star game will be played at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas.

A's Sign 13 Draft Picks

With short-season baseball starting next week, the A's have been busy getting a number of their draft picks under contract. The following players officially joined the organization on Wednesday:

RHP Scott Hodsdon (6th round, Azusa Pacific
RHP Brent Lysander (16th round, Sonoma State)
SS Matt Ray (18th round, Middle Tennessee State)
C/1B Michael Napoleon (19th round, Iowa)
OF Dan Wentzell (20th round, George Fox)
OF James Pruitt (23rd round, Montevallo)
3B Justin Frash (27th round, Hawaii)
RHP Charles Kerfoot (30th round, Delaware)
LHP Rosalio Gomez (31st round, Rockford College)
RHP Bryan Collins (32nd round, Central Missouri State)
RHP John Quine (33rd round, San Francisco)
C Ben Barrone (44th round, Winona State)
OF Adam Klein (48th round, Cal State Los Angeles)

Jukich Traded To Cincinnati

Lefty Ben Jukich has been sent to the Cincinnati Reds as the final player to be named later in the Chris Denorfia trade. Marcus McBeth was the first player to be named later. McBeth made his major league debut with the Reds this month and is 1-0 with two runs allowed in 5 innings for the Reds.

Jukich, a 13th round pick a year ago for the A's, was 3-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 starts for the High-A Stockton Ports this season. The lanky lefty has a plus curveball that has helped him compile an impressive 46:15 K:BB ratio in 58.1 innings. He has made a quick jump from a small collegiate program at Dakota Wesleyan to High-A in less than a year and he should be a good addition to a Reds system that is short on polished left-handers such as Jukich.

A's Ink Veteran Piedra

The A's signed major league veteran Jorge Piedra to a minor league contract and assigned him to the Sacramento River Cats. He debuted on Tuesday and is 2-7 in two games for the River Cats. He has played parts of three seasons with the Colorado Rockies. In 2005, he hit .313 with a 933 OPS in 112 at-bats. He was designated for assignment from the Rockies organization last August.

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