Sacramento Adds Veteran OF and Infield Depth
Looking to give the Sacramento River Cats some experience and some added depth for the playoff push, the Oakland A's added free agent outfielder Jeff DaVanon and promoted infielder Eddie Cornejo.
DaVanon, an eight-year major league veteran, was recently released by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The former Anaheim Angels' outfielder has battled ankle and shoulder injuries all season. He has appeared in only 13 games at the major league level this year, batting .154 with one RBI. He also appeared in 17 minor league games on a rehab assignment.
DaVanon began his professional career in the A's chain and was a top prospect in 1999 when he was traded to the Angels in the Randy Velarde/Omar Olivares trade. DaVanon made his major league debut that season for the Angels, appearing in seven games. He would miss the entire 2000 season and then appeared in 40 games for the Angels in 2001 and 16 games in 2002. He became an every day player for Anaheim in 2003, appearing in a career-high 123 games, during which he batted .282 with an 805 OPS. DaVanon appeared in 108 games in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons for the Angels.
He was released by Anaheim after the 2005 season and he signed with Arizona, where he excelled during the 2006 season as a part-time outfielder. He batted .290 with an 819 OPS in 87 games for the Diamondbacks. Injuries cost DaVanon a spot with the Diamondbacks in 2007 and with the team re-signing Eric Byrnes and adding young talent from the minor leagues, there was no room for DaVanon on the Diamondbacks' roster.
DaVanon comes to Sacramento with a .260 career average in 502 major league games and a .301 career average in 618 minor league games.
DaVanon replaces outfielder Nick Blasi on the Sacramento roster. Blasi, who has been one of the A's best stories in the minor league this season, has been sent to Double-A Midland. He began the year in High-A Stockton, where he hit .239 in 28 games. He was sent up to Triple-A Sacramento in early May on what was supposed to be a temporary call-up to fill-in for some injured players. Thanks to even more injuries, Blasi was thrust into the River Cats' starting line-up. He responded by hitting .300 in 243 at-bats.
Blasi will likely see regular playing time for the Rockhounds for the rest of the season. Midland has been playing short in the outfield, as Javier Herrera is on the DL with a hamstring strain and Vince Faison is away from the team tending to a family issue.
In addition to DaVanon, Sacramento has added infielder Eddie Cornejo, who will add depth to the thin Sacramento infield. Cornejo can play second, short and third base. The Oklahoma alum was batting .286 with two homers and 26 RBI in 59 games for the Midland Rockhounds at the time of the call-up. This will be Cornejo's first time at the Triple-A level. He was a 13th round pick by Oakland in 2003.
Earlier in the week, Sacramento left-hander Ryan Meaux was released from the A's organization. Meaux had a 1.98 ERA in 13 appearances for the River Cats this season. He also appeared in six games for the Midland Rockhounds earlier in the season. The River Cats' bullpen also lost closer Ruddy Lugo last weekend when he was promoted to Oakland to replace Joe Kennedy, who was claimed by Arizona.
Walters, Herrera Switch Places
There was also some roster tinkering in the lower levels of the A's system. Left-hander Nick Walters was sent from High-A Stockton to Low-A Kane County and right-hander John Herrera was promoted from Low-A Kane County to High-A Stockton.
Walters returns to Kane County after only a week away from the team. He appeared in two games for Stockton, allowing one run in three innings of work. Walters was a top reliever for the Cougars before his promotion to Stockton, allowing only four runs in 13.2 innings (2.63 ERA). On the season, Walters has a 4-0 record and a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings for three A's Single-A affiliates.
Herrera will be advancing to High-A for the first time after spending all of last season and all of this season with Kane County. The right-hander has been a swingman for the Cougars this season, starting 11 games and relieving in 10. He has a 2-8 record and a 4.89 ERA in 88.1 innings.
Stockton also added reliever Earl Oakes from the Vancouver Canadians. Oakes, a 2006 draft pick, began the year at extended spring training. He was 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in 29.2 innings for Vancouver this season with a 28:6 K:BB ratio.
The Ports lost Kevin Deaton to Double-A Midland. The right-hander began the year in Midland, but was hurt after his first start. He made five appearances for the A's Rookie League team in July and then made four appearances (three starts) for Stockton. Deaton was 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 innings for the Ports.
Kane County finds itself in the thick of a playoff race. After struggling for the first half of the season, the Cougars have played well during the second half and they currently sit only a game and a half of out of the playoffs. The Cougars have won three straight and nine out of 10. The Ports have struggled during the second half of the season and are currently 19-28, although they have won three straight themselves.
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