In 2006, all eyes were on outfielder Javier Herrera. After a solid season with the Low-A Kane County Cougars in 2005 (which had been preceeded by an All-Star campaign with the short-season Vancouver Canadians in 2004), Herrera was added to the Oakland A's 40-man roster before the start of the 2006 season. He performed well in his first major league spring training camp, but left camp with soreness in his right (throwing) elbow.
That soreness eventually required ligament replacement surgery and Herrera was sidelined for the entirety of the 2006 season. He was never the same player after that.
The outfielder split his 2007 season between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland. After a rough start with the Ports, Herrera got his average up to .274 and wound-up with nine homers and 11 stolen bases in 62 games with the Ports. He was promoted at the midway point of that season to Midland, where he hit three homers in 20 games. Unfortunately, he would play only 20 games with the Rockhounds because of a severe hamstring pull.
That hamstring pull continued to effect him at the start of the 2008 season. He missed the first two months of the season and was restricted to DH duties for much of the first part of the year. He would appear in only 61 games with Midland, but he did finish his year on an up note, batting .274 with six homers in 113 at-bats in August.
Herrera was returned to Double-A Midland at the start of the 2009 season, his final option year with the A's. He injured his wrist on Opening Day and had been on the disabled list ever since. In six minor league seasons with the A's, Herrera had a .284 average with 72 stolen bases, 48 homers and 208 RBIs over 317 games.
Herrera was released, in part, so the A's could make room for two new additions to the 40-man roster: pitchers Edgar Gonzalez and Chris Schroder, both of whom are former major leaguers who had been with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. A's third baseman Eric Chavez was placed on the 60-day disabled list, ending any thoughts that he would return to the team next week. He is battling a potentially career-ending back injury.
Gonzalez, the former Arizona Diamondback, was a non-roster invitee to the A's big league camp. He was thought to have a strong shot at one of the A's open rotation spots, but he had a poor spring. He has made seven starts for Sacramento this season and is 3-2 with a 5.22 ERA in 39.2 innings. Last season, Gonzalez was limited by injuries, appearing in only 17 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Schroder was actually a member of the A's 40-man roster earlier this spring, but he was cut just before Opening Day to make room for Dan Giese. Schroder cleared waivers and he has been with Triple-A Sacramento all season. He has been the River Cats' top reliever this season. In 19 innings, he has a 2.37 ERA and three saves with 18 strike-outs and 10 walks. The slider specialist has previous major league experience with the Washington Nationals.
To make room for Gonzalez and Schroder on the A's 25-man roster, Oakland has optioned Sean Gallagher and Gio Gonzalez to Triple-A Sacramento. Both pitchers pitched last night for Oakland in the team's 13-4 loss to Tampa Bay. It is the second time that both of these pitchers have been optioned to Sacramento this season.
The A's did not announce a roster move involving catcher Landon Powell, who injured his hamstring running to first base late in Monday night's debacle. The River Cats have added Anthony Recker from Midland, but they have placed catcher Joel Galarraga on the DL. Sacramento's other catcher, Eric Munson, is currently playing in the River Cats' game against Round Rock in Sacramento. In other words, it is possible that Powell's injury was less serious than it seemed and the A's are going to wait it out. Powell and Kurt Suzuki are the only two catchers on the A's 40-man roster.
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