Oakland A's MLN: Roster Shifts Net Results

Since acquiring seven players in two July trades, the Oakland A's have been shifting the rosters of a number of their minor league affiliates. We highlight some of these new players in new places, as well as other news and notes from around the A's system inside...

Midland Weathers Roster Changes, Moving In On First Place

The Midland Rockhounds won their seventh game in a row on Thursday, completing a road sweep of the Frisco Roughriders in the process. The Rockhounds are now only a game out of first place behind Frisco for the second-half Southern Division title.

Midland has seen a number of roster moves of late. Right-handers Jason Fernandez and Jared Lansford were recently promoted to Midland from High-A Stockton. Fernandez made his debut for Midland on Thursday night, allowing one run on one hit and three walks in two innings. He is likely to move into the Rockhounds' rotation once Team USA members Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson leave for Beijing. He had a 3.36 ERA in 109.2 innings for Stockton before the promotion. Lansford earned his first Double-A save on Thursday. He worked two hitless innings. He walked one and struck-out four. Lansford has not allowed a run in 4.1 innings for Midland thus far. He had a 4.41 ERA and 75 strike-outs in 63.1 innings for Stockton this year.

The Rockhounds also welcomed back infielder Mike Affronti on Thursday. Affronti had been with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, who were thin up the middle with the recent major league promotions of Brooks Conrad and Eric Patterson. Affronti was sent back to Midland when Patterson was optioned to Sacramento on Wednesday. He has played at High-A, Double-A and Triple-A this season and is batting .281 in 103 games overall.

Before Affronti's arrival, the Rockhounds had been thin in the infield. Brian Snyder was released by the organization a few weeks ago, so the team was only carrying Sean Doolittle, Tom Everidge, Frank Martinez, Justin Sellers and Myron Leslie in the infield. Doolittle and Everidge are both first basemen, so to get everyone in the line-up every day, Midland manager Webster Garrison has had to get a little creative. Doolittle has seen time in the outfield, as well as first base, and Everidge has seen time at third in addition to his natural first base. Leslie, normally a corner infielder/outfielder and a collegiate shortstop, has seen time at second base the past few days. Martinez and Sellers have shared time both at second and at short.

Doolittle and Everidge have both been particularly hot at the plate lately. Doolittle homered for the second straight game on Thursday and is carrying a four-game hitting streak. He has homered four times in the last seven games and he has 22 homers and 77 RBIs in 108 games with Midland and Stockton this season. Everidge is threatening to break the 100 RBI barrier in the next week. He drove-in two more runs on Thursday to raise his season total to 92. Everidge has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he has two homers and 13 RBIs. He has 20 homers for the season.

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham had three more hits on Thursday, including his fifth triple, to raise his average to .315. He also stole his 12th base and he is sporting an 879 OPS on the season for Midland. Outfielder/DH Javier Herrera has also been hot lately. His two hits on Thursday extended his hitting streak to seven games. Herrera got off to a slow start this season after missing the first two months with hamstring problems. However, he had a solid month of July, batting .272 with a .352 OBP and 12 RBIs in 22 games. He is now batting .263 for the year.

Minor league veteran Todd Donovan swiped his 30th base of the season on July 24th. On July 22nd, he stole the 300th base of his minor league career, becoming only the 14th player in minor league history to reach that career total.

Of course, Midland's recent success hasn't been due entirely to the offense. They currently boast one of the top pitching staffs in the league. Midland right-hander Vince Mazzaro is continuing his push to win the Texas League Pitcher of the Year award. He won his 12th game and his fifth straight start on Wednesday by allowing no earned runs in five innings. He struck-out five. Mazzaro's 1.90 ERA is nearly a run lower than any other pitcher in the Texas League. He has allowed only 115 hits and 36 walks in 137.1 innings this season.

Right-hander James Simmons is seventh in the Texas League in ERA with a 3.59 mark. He struggled to go deep into games earlier in the season when he was battling sleep apnea. However, over his past seven starts, Simmons has gone at least five innings in each outing and at least seven innings in four of them. He has 57 strike-outs in his last 58 innings and 91 in 100.1 innings on the season. Right-hander Ryan Webb won his seventh game on Thursday against six losses. He allowed three earned runs (five total) in five innings with six strike-outs. He has a 5.03 ERA in 102 innings this season.

20-year-old phenoms Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill might be leaving for Beijing, but they made their impact while with Midland. Anderson had a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings (five starts) for the Rockhounds. He allowed only 18 hits and eight walks and he struck-out 29. For the year, Anderson is 11-5 with a 3.55 ERA and a 109:26 K:BB ratio in 99 innings with Midland and Stockton. Cahill went 6-1 with a 2.19 ERA in seven Double-A appearances. He struck-out 33 and walked 19 in 37 innings. On the season, he has struck-out 136 in 124.1 innings for Stockton and Midland. He is also 11-5 on the season, with a 2.61 ERA.

The Midland bullpen has also been impressive. Right-hander Andrew Bailey has continued to impress as a reliever. He has allowed only one run in 16 innings out of the bullpen after posting a 6.18 ERA as a starter. Bailey has struck-out 17 and walked six while allowing 10 hits in relief. Closer Andrew Carignan is second in the Texas League in saves despite spending the first three weeks of the season in Stockton. He has 17 saves and he has struck-out 46 in 37.1 Double-A innings. He has 21 saves between Stockton and Midland this year, tops in the organization.

Stockton Newcomers Making A Difference

No Oakland A's affiliate has benefited more from the A's July trades than the High-A Stockton Ports. The A's California League affiliate has three of the seven players acquired by Oakland in those trades on their roster. Thus far, all three players are making big contributions to the Ports' everyday line-up.

Catcher Josh Donaldson was the first of the acquisitions to arrive. He came over from the Chicago Cubs in the Rich Harden trade. Since then, he has played in 18 games for the Ports. The Auburn alum is batting .389 with six homers, 24 RBIs and nine walks. Before coming to the Ports, Donaldson had only six homers and 23 RBIs in 63 games for the Peoria Chiefs. The catcher is currently riding a six-game hitting streak.

Outfielder/first baseman Matt Spencer and second baseman Adrian Cardenas came over from Philadelphia in the Joe Blanton trade roughly a week after Donaldson. Spencer, an Arizona State alum, has been on-fire since joining the Ports. He has had a hit in all but two of his 12 games with the Ports and he is batting .449 with six doubles, one homerun and six RBIs in 49 at-bats. Spencer was batting only .249 with six homers and a .317 OBP in 84 games with the Phillies' High-A team before the trade.

Cardenas was arguably the most highly rated prospect involved in both deals. He has been solid since joining the Ports. In 12 games, Cardenas is hitting .322. He has hit in all but two of his games with the Ports and is currently working on an eight-game hitting streak.

Other Notes:

* Oakland A's 2008 second round pick Tyson Ross, out since June 28th with a sore right shoulder, is throwing off of a mound again as he rehabs in an attempt to pitch in a live game again before the end of the season. He has been throwing batting practice this week and could return for the final couple weeks of the season. The right-hander from Cal allowed one run on two hits with five strike-outs and no walks in five innings for the Cougars before getting hurt.

* Stockton Ports' outfielder Matt Sulentic may be done for the season. The Dallas area native broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch earlier this week. If he is done for the year, Sulentic finishes the season with a .309/.368/.481 line. That is a huge improvement over his 625 OPS in 2007. The 20-year-old improved in all facets of his game this season, showing more power, better plate discipline, increased speed on the bases and a better glove in the outfield. He was also one of the youngest position players in the California League this season. At the time of the injury, he was hitting .410 over his last 10 games.

* Lefty Carlos Hernandez moved to 2-0 with the Kane County Cougars on Thursday. He worked 6.2 innings, allowing only one run on six hits and two walks. He struck-out four in the Cougars' 3-2 win over Peoria. Hernandez, who had a 1.82 ERA in 39.2 innings for Vancouver before being promoted to the Midwest League, allowed four runs on eight hits in his first outing for the Cougars, but he earned the win and struck-out seven. On the season, he has 49 strike-outs in 52 innings.

* A's first baseman Daric Barton homered for the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday, the first homer he has hit during his rehab stint with the team.

* A's reliever Joey Devine threw a perfect inning for Sacramento on Thursday. He struck-out one. Devine allowed three runs in one inning in his first rehab outing earlier this week. He could be activated by Oakland as soon as tomorrow.

* Rookie League A's shortstop Nino Leyja continues to be one of the top hitters in the Arizona League. The 17-year-old went 4-6 with five runs scored, two walks and two stolen bases in a double-header on Thursday. Leyja is batting .364 on the season and he has nine stolen bases and 18 walks in 25 games this season. He is 18 for his last 45 (.400) with 15 runs scored.

* Outfielder Franklin Hernandez also had a big day on Thursday. He had four hits in eight at-bats in the double-header, including two homeruns in game one. He has four homers, 13 doubles and three triples in 130 at-bats and he is batting an even .300 this season.

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