Live From Phoenix Muni: A's News And Notes

PHOENIX -- The Oakland A's major league spring squad has continued to roll through their Cactus League competition. With a 9-7 win on Sunday over the Texas Rangers, the A's made it a clean sweep for the weekend in spring play. We have notes from big league camp, roster moves and more...

A's Make Four Roster Moves
The A's sent down four players to minor league camp on Sunday: Jerry Blevins, Kirk Saarloos, Henry Rodriguez and Matt LeCroy. Blevins had a 3.00 ERA and a win in six spring games with the A's big league team. He struck-out four and walked two. Oakland A's manager Bob Geren said that Blevins did a good job this spring.

"He will work on refining his pitches and gain experience in Triple-A for the first extended period of time," Geren said.

Geren also had praise for Rodriguez, who struggled with his command during his first inning of his two-inning outing on Saturday, but calmed down and had a strong second inning. Rodriguez allowed one run in two innings in the A's 10-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. In his first inning, he walked three and threw a wild pitch. After sitting through a long bottom of the first inning, during which the A's scored eight and watched San Francisco make a pitching change, Rodriguez allowed only one base-runner in his second frame.

"He had a little bit of trouble gripping the ball in that first inning. He did a good job keeping his composure and rubbed the balls up a little better in that second inning and did a nice job," Geren said.

"It is impressive to see a young pitcher struggle like that, sit for 10 minutes and then regain his composure."

Saarloos, who was the A's fifth starter in 2004 and 2005, was trying to make the team as a non-roster player this spring. He allowed four runs and 11 hits in 10 innings. LeCroy signed with the A's at the start of camp and he had only two at-bats in big league games.

Drucker Let Go
Right-hander Scot Drucker, who missed all of last season after having surgery on his right labrum, was released by the A's on Saturday. Drucker, who is almost one year removed from his surgery, reported to camp healthy, but the team let him go before he had a chance to throw in a spring game. He indicated that he is hoping to get a tryout with another major league organization sometime this spring. Drucker was the A's 13th round pick during the 2004 draft out of Tennessee.

A Sunday Homecoming
It was old home day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Sunday when the Texas Rangers came to town. Former A's managers Art Howe (who is on the Rangers coaching staff) and Ken Macha (who was in-town as a member of the media) were on-hand. In addition, current Rangers manager and former A's third base coach Ron Washington was there. All three visited with a number of members of the A's clubhouse staff behind home-plate before the game.

Macha received a warm reception from the A's home crowd as he walked through the stands before the game. He has been working as a pre-game and post-game commentator for the Boston Red Sox television broadcast team. Mark Ellis, who credits Washington with helping him become one of the game's best defensive second basemen, visited with Washington for a while before the game. Late in the game, former A's catcher Adam Melhuse – a non-roster player with Texas this spring – entered for starting catcher Gerald Laird and received a hardy cheer from the crowd.

Other News And Notes
- Fautino De Los Santos, the A's top right-handed pitching prospect, is tentatively scheduled to appear in the A's big league spring game on Tuesday in Surprise. De Los Santos had a 2.65 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 122 innings for the two White Sox full-season, Single-A teams last season. He has been throwing with the A's Double-A team this spring.

- Two of the A's top left-handed pitching prospects – Greg Smith and Gio Gonzalez – appeared in Oakland's game on Sunday. Gonzalez, who got the start, struggled with his command throughout his appearance. He allowed six runs, four earned, on five hits and four walks in two-plus innings. Smith fared much better. He allowed one run on four hits in four innings, striking-out three and walking one. Smith's third inning was a struggle, but he breezed through his other three frames and threw extra pitches in the bullpen after the game to get his pitch count up.

- Reliever Joey Devine, who was acquired in the Mark Kotsay trade in January, was arguably the most impressive performer on Sunday for the A's. He earned the win in the A's 9-7, come-from-behind victory. In one frame (the eighth inning), Devine struck-out all three batters he faced. All three strike-outs were swinging.

- Outfielder Jeff Fiorentino made an outstanding leaping catch in left-field to end the game. He has impressed the A's brass this spring with his defense in the corners.


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