Oakland A's MLN: Henry Back In Midland

Since becoming a reliever with Stockton, Henry Rodriguez has looked more like the dominating pitcher he was early in the season. The A's have rewarded his recent good work with a promotion to Double-A Midland, where he struggled early in the year. We have news about his return to the Rockhounds and more inside...

After rediscovering his command in the Stockton bullpen, right-hander Henry Rodriguez was back to dominating California League hitters. In his last five outings for Stockton (all in relief), Rodriguez had allowed only one hit in six innings. He had struck-out 10 and walked only two.

That performance earned Rodriguez another shot at Double-A, where he had struggled to the tune of an ERA above 8.50 earlier in the season. He appeared in his first game for the Rockhounds since June 2nd on Thursday night, throwing one inning in Midland's 5-4 loss to Corpus Christi. Rodriguez did not allow a run in the frame, giving up only a walk and a bunt single. He struck-out two. Rodriguez now has 142 strike-outs in 109.2 innings between High-A and Double-A this season.

Right-hander Jason Fernandez took the loss for Midland, as he allowed four runs on six hits in six innings. He struck-out four and walked one. In five outings for the Rockhounds, Fernandez has a 4.78 ERA. He had a 3.36 ERA in 109.2 innings for High-A Stockton this season.

Richie Robnett (1) and Anthony Recker (11) both homered for Midland in the loss. Recker had two hits and raised his average to .284 on the season. The catcher has quietly put together a solid year for the Rockhounds, posting an 803 OPS in 107 games after managing only a 593 OPS in 58 games for Midland last season.

Midland is now tied with Frisco for the South Division second-half title at 36-23.

Sacramento's Magic Number Down To One

The River Cats lost to rival Fresno on Thursday, but they saw their magic number to win the Southern Division title narrowed to one, as Las Vegas lost to Colorado Springs by a score of 13-0. The River Cats will attempt to clinch their division again on Friday.

Right-hander Vince Mazzaro struggled during his outing for the River Cats. The 21-year-old allowed at least one run in each of his first four innings and wound-up allowing seven earned runs in 5.1 innings of work. He allowed 11 hits and one homerun, although he didn't walk a batter. Mazzaro's ERA now sits at 6.75 after four starts for Sacramento after he posted a sparkling 1.90 ERA for Double-A Midland in 22 starts. Mazzaro is the youngest member of the River Cats' roster by five months.

Donnie Murphy, Gregorio Petit and Aaron Cunningham each had two hits in the 9-5 Sacramento loss. Wes Bankston (18) and Murphy (10) both homered in the ninth inning. Bankston went 1-3 with two runs scored and a walk in his return to the River Cats. He was designated for assignment earlier in the week but cleared waivers on Wednesday and was outrighted to Sacramento.

Mike Sweeney went 0-2 with a walk and played first base for the River Cats on Thursday. He has one hit in seven at-bats during his rehab stint.

News and Notes

* Sacramento lost left-handers Dan Meyer and Dana Eveland to promotions to the big leagues on Thursday, but gained left-hander Justin Dowdy up from Midland. He allowed one unearned run in 2.2 innings in his Sacramento debut on Thursday. He had a 7.16 ERA in 49 innings for the Rockhounds.

* Kane County's Toddric Johnson hit his 13th homerun of the season and raised his OPS to 819 on Thursday in the Cougars' 4-3 win over Clinton. Johnson has had a rebound season after hitting only .242 with six homers and a 652 OPS for Kane County in 2007. The fleet-footed outfielder has a .284 average and 11 stolen bases. He will turn 24 in December.

* Outfielder Adam Klein also had a big game for Kane County on Thursday. He had a double, a triple and stole his 15th base for the Cougars. Klein has spent time with Kane County and Midland this season and is batting a combined .269 with 16 stolen bases in 75 games. He swiped 33 bags in 45 games for the A's Rookie League club in 2007.

* Infielder Jason Christian, the A's fifth round pick, hit his fourth homerun of the season for Vancouver and had two hits in the Canadians' loss to Eugene. Christian, who has mostly played shortstop during his collegiate and brief pro career, made the start at second base. Christian has put together a solid pro debut season, batting .293 with a .406 OBP and 12 stolen bases in 13 chances in 60 games for the C's.

* Right-hander Ryan Doolittle took the loss but had a strong outing for the A's Rookie League club on Thursday. Doolittle allowed only one run on four hits and no walks in six innings in the 2-0 loss. He struck-out four. After getting off to a slow start to his pro career, Doolittle has pitched well lately. In his last three outings, he has allowed only two runs in 15 innings and he has struck-out 14 while walking none. Overall, Doolittle has a 4.75 ERA in 41.2 innings for the Rookie A's. He has walked only eight in his last 35 innings.

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