Oakland A's MLN: H-Rod On The Move

After a long recovery from off-season hernia surgery, right-hander Henry Rodriguez is finally ready to make his 2009 regular season debut on the mound. We have the details of where he is headed, plus more news from extended spring training and around the Oakland A's system inside...

Right-hander Henry Rodriguez, one of the Oakland A's top pitching prospects, is set to report to High-A Stockton after spending the first six-plus weeks of the regular season down in Phoenix for extended spring training. Rodriguez is expected to get a few innings under his belt at High-A Stockton before he is sent either to Double-A or Triple-A.

Rodriguez began the season at extended spring training so that he could complete his rehab from off-season hernia surgery. Rodriguez struck-out 147 batters in 116 innings for High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland last season. He split the year between the rotation and the bullpen. It is expected that he will work out of the bullpen excusively this season.

Rodriguez is best known for his fastball, which was clocked in the triple digits last season. He is also known for his wildness. The Venezuelan native walked 84 last season. He is a member of the A's 40-man roster.

Rodriguez isn't the only A's prospect who is making progress at extended spring training. Second baseman and A's 2008 top pick Jemile Weeks was scheduled to play nine innings in an extended spring training game on Monday. Weeks is working through leg soreness. He is expected to join the Stockton roster as soon as he is capable of playing nine innings on a daily basis.

Right-hander Mike Madsen, who missed virtually all of last season with elbow problems, is throwing in extended spring training games, bringing him a step closer to joining a full-season affiliate.

Right-hander Fautino De Los Santos, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, threw a bullpen session on Monday in Phoenix. Michael Ynoa, who is working on building up his arm strength and stamina before pitching in game action, is at the stage where he is throwing 25 pitches off of the mound.

The news isn't as good for right-handed relievers Andrew Carignan and Daniel Thomas. Neither seems close to being ready to pitch in regular season games, as both are still throwing only off of flat ground in Phoenix.

News and Notes

- Daric Barton hit his first homerun of the season, but Jerry Blevins allowed a three-run homerun with two-outs in the ninth inning to send the Sacramento River Cats down to a 7-6 defeat. Matt Carson also homered in the loss, his fifth of the season. Cliff Pennington added two hits and a walk, while Eric Patterson stole his 14th base of the season.

- The Midland Rockhounds also dropped their Monday contest by a score of 7-6. That loss came in the 10th inning. Midland had a four-run lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Frisco rallied to tie it in the seventh and eventually won it in the 10th. Chris Carter hit his fourth homerun of the season and Matt Sulentic went 4-4 with two doubles. He is now batting .306 on the season.

- The Stockton Ports saw their four-game winning streak end with a 4-3 loss to High Desert. Craig Italiano allowed four runs on six hits in 4.1 innings and that was enough for the High Desert pitching staff to hold off Stockton. Alexander Valdez extended his hitting streak with two hits. He is now batting .426 during the month of May.

- The Kane County Cougars scored a run in the top of the first inning and then were shut-out for the rest of the game, as they lost on Monday to the Quad Cities Bandits, 3-1. Grant Desme doubled twice to lead the Cougars' offense. Kenneth Smalley was outstanding in his start, allowing only an unearned run in four innings. He allowed three hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out five. Matt Fitts got the loss by allowing two runs in four innings.

- Sacramento right-hander Vince Mazzaro earned the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 11th. During that week, Mazzaro allowed only one run in 13.2 innings of work.

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