Oakland A's MLN: Putnam Making Good Progress

In our Thursday look around the system, we get a further update on Danny Putnam's rehab, when James Simmons might debut, and highlights from Thursday's action in the Oakland A's system.

Putnam Healing Fast

Danny Putnam played in the field for the first time since breaking his hand in late May. Putnam also had two hits and he had an outfield assist fivfor the A's Rookie League team. He is now 3-6 in his rehab.

A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman says that Putnam is ahead of schedule in recovering from the broken hand.

"I saw him [on Wednesday]. I happened to see him play. He didn't play any defense, but he did take four at-bats as a DH. He was a little rusty, swing-wise, but he has made a lot more progress than we initially thought," Lieppman said.

"We initially thought it was going to take him about three weeks, but I think we can probably cut that time in half. I would guess that in 10 days he'd be ready to go."

Putnam is likely to return to Triple-A Sacramento when he is healthy.

Simmons Working Back To Pitching Shape

When the A's signed their first round pick, James Simmons, the team announced that he would begin his professional career at Double-A Midland. For fans who are concerned why he hasn't yet appeared in a game for Midland, have no fear. Simmons isn't hurt; he's working his way back into pitching shape after a long layoff between the end of his collegiate season and when he signed.

"He hasn't thrown in a month. Conservatively, it's better to bring these guys along a little slowly," Lieppman said.

"They almost have to go through a mini-spring training with the side-sessions and all of the incremental steps to getting them back into pitching condition. I'm guessing that after the [major league] All-Star break would be a good time for him to debut."

Other Notes:

- Landon Powell had a huge first game at Triple-A. He homered in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 7 after the River Cats blew a three-run lead in the top of the inning. Fellow former Rockhound Gregorio Petit collected his first two Triple-A hits and drove-in a run. Daric Barton singled in the bottom of the 15th to extend his hitting streak to 23 games. He had been 0-5 with a walk and an RBI up to that point.

- Jermaine Van Buren, acquired in a trade for a player to be named later on Tuesday, made his debut with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. He threw two scoreless innings in relief with one strikeout and no walks or hits allowed.

- Matt Sulentic hit his first homer since being sent down from Kane County to Vancouver. He went 2-4 with three RBI in the Canadians 9-4 win over Yakima. Catcher Dante Love had two hits, as did DH Michael Richard.

- Brian Snyder had three hits, including his sixth homerun of the season, but the Midland Rockhounds were routed by a score of 13-2. Snyder also doubled, his 22 of the season.

- James Heuser struck out six and walked none in seven innings of work, but he allowed four runs and the Cougars fell by a score of 4-3. Heuser fell to 6-3 on the season.

- Vince Mazzaro struck out nine batters in six innings. He allowed one run on four hits and walked four in the Ports' 7-1 win over rival San Jose. The win was Mazzaro's seventh against eight losses. Jose Pineda hit his 13th homer of the season and Patrick Currin threw another scoreless inning to lower his High-A ERA to 1.48.

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