Oakland A's MLN: Weekend Round-Up

Labor Day weekend signaled the end of the minor league regular season and the expansion of the major league rosters. The Oakland A's made a number of roster changes this weekend at both the major league level and in Triple-A Sacramento. We have a run-down of those moves, as well as news on which A's affiliate will be moving on to the playoffs this week inside...

A's Add September "Call-Ups"

With the rosters expanding on September 1, the Oakland A's added a number of players to their active roster over the weekend. On Saturday, the A's recalled left-hander Dallas Braden, who took Esteban Loaiza's spot in the A's starting rotation. Braden, who was coming off of a 17 strikeout performance with Sacramento in his last Triple-A start, struggled in his start on Sunday versus the Detroit Tigers. He allowed six runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings of work. The A's were able to come back in the game, however, and earned an exciting 8-7 win.

The A's also added an old face to the roster this weekend when they re-signed catcher Adam Melhuse to act as the team's third catcher for the rest of the season. Melhuse began the year as the A's back-up catcher, but was traded to Texas in June. He was designated for assignment by the Rangers in July and was out of baseball until the A's decided to bring him back in the fold. He will act as a third catcher, pinch-hitter and back-up third baseman for the season's final month.

On Monday, the A's re-activated Donnie Murphy from the 15-day disabled list. Murphy had been sidelined with a strained oblique muscle. Murphy had been acting as the A's starting shortstop at the time of his injury, and he should share time with Marco Scutaro and Mark Ellis at second and short for the rest of the season. Murphy has a 738 OPS in 86 at-bats for the A's this season.

On Monday, the A's also brought back left-hander Dan Meyer, who made his first start for the A's in late July. Meyer will replace Jay Marshall in the A's bullpen while Marshall attends the funeral of his grandmother. Meyer may be given another start or two by the A's before the end of the season. The left-hander was 8-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 119.1 innings for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats this season.

The A's may add a few more players from the Triple-A Sacramento roster once the River Cats have completed their playoff run.

Three A's Starters Out For Season

The A's also announced this weekend that starting position players Eric Chavez, Travis Buck and Mark Kotsay would be out for the season. Buck will be having surgery on his troublesome right elbow on September 10. Buck has been bothered by soreness in that elbow since spring training. He also missed time this season with a bruised thumb and a strained hamstring. He finished his rookie season with an 851 OPS in 82 games played. He likely would have competed for the AL Rookie of the Year award had he not missed so much time with injury. Buck is expected to be at full strength by spring training next season and will be an important part of the A's 2008 plans.

Chavez will be undergoing surgery on September 5. He will have his labrum repaired in his right throwing shoulder. He has played with pain in his shoulder for the past 10 years. He might also have a procedure on his back if the pain he has suffered from for the past few months doesn't subside soon. His streak of six consecutive Gold Gloves is likely to end this off-season.

Kotsay, who had back surgery during spring training, is expected to rehabilitate his back without further surgery.

Bailey, Davis and Blevins Make Triple-A Debuts

With Sacramento starting pitchers Colby Lewis, Braden and Meyer joining the Oakland A's pitching staff this week, the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats turned to the lower levels of the A's system for reinforcements. Stockton Ports' starters Andrew Bailey and Brad Davis were promoted to Triple-A to make starts for the River Cats, while Midland reliever Jerry Blevins joined Sacramento's bullpen.

Despite jumping two levels, both Davis and Bailey had impressive debuts for Sacramento. Davis threw seven shut-out innings in Sacramento's win on Sunday, allowing only six hits and two walks. He struck out two. Davis was 5-5 with a 5.17 ERA in 111.1 innings for Stockton this season.

Bailey was nearly flawless in his Triple-A debut. The A's 2005 draft pick didn't allow a base-runner until the fifth inning and had a no-hitter until two-outs in the seventh inning, when he allowed a single. He finished the game by allowing one run in eight innings. He allowed only three hits and one walk, while striking out four. Bailey began the season with Low-A Kane County and spent the second half of the season with High-A Stockton. On the season, Bailey has made 23 appearances (22 starts). He has a 3.46 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 125 innings. Bailey gave-up only 101 hits in his first full professional season.

Blevins earned a win in his Triple-A debut, as well. The left-hander, who was acquired for Jason Kendall in July, threw 2.2 innings of relief on Saturday. He allowed one hit and no runs and he struck out four. Blevins had appeared in 17 games for Double-A Midland since joining the A's organization. He was 1-3 with a 3.32 ERA. He struck out 29 and walked only five in 21.2 innings for the Rockhounds. Blevins was named to the Phoenix Desert Dogs' Arizona Fall League roster earlier in the week.

Sacramento Clinches Playoff Spot

Despite a season filled with massive roster changes, the Sacramento River Cats clinched yet another Southern division title with a win over Tucson on Friday. They finished the weekend with a four-game sweep of Tucson and head to the first round of the PCL playoffs with an 84-60 record.

The River Cats have won the division title six times in the eight years of their existence. Their first round opponent will be the Salt Lake Bees. The best-of-five series will begin on Wednesday in Salt Lake. Game Two will be at Salt Lake on Thursday. Game Three (Friday) and then Games Four and Five (if necessary on Saturday and Sunday) will be at Sacramento's Raley Field.

Sacramento will be the only A's affiliate in the playoffs this season. Midland and Kane County entered the weekend with chances to make the playoffs, but both affiliates fell just short of the post-season.

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