The Midland Rockhounds lost one of their top 2009 offensive performers on Tuesday, but they gained another strong hitter in his place. Outfielder Danny Putnam has been moved up to Triple-A Sacramento, while IF/OF Matt Spencer has arrived in Midland from High-A Stockton.
Putnam, the A's 2004 supplemental first-round pick, was off to a great start to the season for the Rockhounds. The Stanford product was batting .301 with seven homers, 22 RBIs and a 910 OPS in 30 games for Midland. He was the Texas League's Player of the Week for the week of April 27th.
Putnam, who made his major league debut in 2007, has plenty of experience at the Triple-A level. He spent time with the River Cats in 2007, helping Sacramento win a PCL and Triple-A crown that season. His walk-off, extra-inning homerun in Game Four of the semi-finals of the PCL playoffs was one of the most dramatic homers of the River Cats' season that year.
Last season, Putnam appeared in 89 games for Sacramento, batting .276 with 15 homers and an 877 OPS. He posted those numbers despite overcoming a bout of pneumonia during the season. He earned his second PCL and Triple-A titles with the River Cats in 2008. In 462 career minor league games, Putnam is a .277 hitter with 61 homers and an 828 OPS.
Spencer was far-and-away the top offensive performer for the Stockton Ports this season. The first-baseman/outfielder already had 10 homeruns in only 30 games for Stockton, including a walk-off homerun last week. He was batting .274 with a 911 OPS. Spencer hit .333 in 41 games with the Ports in 2008, and he won a California League title with Stockton that season. This will be Spencer's first taste of Double-A baseball.
Putnam is replacing Sean Doolittle on the Sacramento River Cats' roster. Doolittle was placed on the disabled list with a knee strain earlier this week. The first-baseman/outfielder was batting .267 with four homers and an 811 OPS in 28 games for Sacramento at the time of the injury.
Also recently joining the DL in Sacramento is infielder Yung-Chi Chen. Chen, too, is battling a knee strain. The infielder has struggled with knee problems for the past couple of seasons. Chen began the year with Midland, where he hit .324 with 10 RBIs in 17 games. He was off to a terrific start with Sacramento, batting .563 in five games with a homer and four RBIs.
Infielder Christian Vitters was initially sent to Sacramento to fill the roster spot vacated by Doolittle. However, with Putnam's arrival, Vitters has been moved to High-A Stockton, where he will take Spencer's place on the Ports' roster. Vitters was at extended spring training. He has spent the past two seasons with Low-A Kane County. He hit .257 in 33 games in an injury-marred season with the Cougars in 2008.
Chen was replaced on the Sacramento roster by outfielder Aaron Cunningham, who returned to Sacramento from the disabled list. Cunningham had been out since the first week of the season with a separated shoulder.
DLS, Ynoa Settling In
As we reported last week, Fautino De Los Santos and Michael Ynoa have both arrived at extended spring training. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, both right-handers are throwing side sessions and working back into shape.
The A's Dominican Academy had shut-down for a few weeks in April, so De Los Santos and Ynoa are working to get back into game-shape. Both pitchers are among the A's top pitching prospects. De Los Santos is recovering from 2008 elbow surgery and is expected to report to High-A Stockton when he is back to 100 percent, while Ynoa is expected to make his debut with the A's short-season Rookie League team in Phoenix in July.
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