Pennington Gets The Call In A's Roster Shift

The youthful Oakland A's got even younger on Tuesday, as the team announced that infielder Cliff Pennington had been selected from Triple-A Sacramento. He will replace left-hander Lenny DiNardo on the A's 25-man roster and infielder Brooks Conrad on the A's 40-man roster.

Cliff Pennington joins Greg Smith, Gregorio Petit, Brooks Conrad, Brad Ziegler, Carlos Gonzalez and Gio Gonzalez as players who have made their major league debuts with Oakland this season. Pennington was the A's top pick in 2005 out of Texas A&M University. The switch-hitting middle infielder was batting a combined .280 in 115 games for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento this season.

Pennington will replace left-hander Lenny DiNardo on the A's 25-man roster. DiNardo, who has been up-and-down between Oakland and Sacramento this season, has a 7.43 ERA in 11 games for the A's this season. He was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his latest stint with the team.

The A's also announced that they were designating Conrad for assignment. He will have to clear waivers to return to the A's as a non-roster player. Conrad hit .158 wtih two RBIs in 19 at-bats with Oakland in July. He has 23 homers in 99 games for the Sacramento River Cats this season.

Pennington is experiencing a resurgence this season after two down years in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, he appeared in only 55 games and hit under .220 as he struggled with leg injuries. Those leg injuries lingered into 2007. Although he appeared in 138 games, he hit only .253 and stole only 17 bases.

Fully healthy in 2008, Pennington got off to a running start with Double-A Midland. In 50 games with the Rockhounds, he stole 20 bases in 21 chances. He made the jump to Triple-A Sacramento in late May and through 65 games, he was hitting .297 with 11 stolen bases. For the year, he has swiped 31 bags in 37 opportunities. His on-base percentage is an impressive .404 for the season and .426 for the River Cats. Over the weekend in Las Vegas, Pennington had a stretch during which he reached base 11 consecutive times at-bat.

A natural shortstop, Pennington can play short, second and third base. He doesn't hit for much power, but he has a solid line-drive swing from both sides of the plate and an above-average batting eye. Pennington has been on a number of big stages over the past year, appearing in the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium this past July and in the Arizona Fall League last October. Pennington hit only .241 during the AFL, but he had a .410 on-base percentage and he stole nine bases in nine chances in only 23 games.

The A's, in conjunction with the Kane County Cougars, also announced on Tuesday that right-hander Scott Mitchinson has been activated off of the Cougars' DL. Mitchinson hasn't pitched since June 23rd because of a sore right elbow. He was a Midwest League All-Star this season before getting hurt and has posted a 1.90 ERA in 71 innings for the Cougars. Brad Hertzler has been sent to short-season Vancouver to make room for Mitchinson.

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