Oakland A's MLN: Returning From Injury

The Stockton Ports had a familiar face manning second for them on Monday night. Meanwhile, the team's regular second baseman continued his on-slaught on California League pitching from the DH spot, while a promising right-hander returned from the DL. We have the details on these developments, and more, inside...

Ellis Begins Rehab Assignment

Long-time Oakland A's second baseman Mark Ellis began his rehab assignment on Monday night. Ellis, who has been out since late April with a severe calf pull, made his first rehab appearance with the Stockton Ports on Monday. He is scheduled to join the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday.

Ellis started for Stockton at second base and played until the sixth inning, when he was replaced by Frank Martinez. Ellis had three plate appearances, walking once and grounding out twice.

It isn't yet clear what the A's are going to do with Ellis when he is ready to return to the team's active roster. Adam Kennedy, who was acquired to fill in for Ellis, has been the team's best player for the past six weeks. There had been some talk that either Kennedy or Ellis would shift to third base to accomodate both players.

Weeks, Pitching Power Stockton Past Modesto

While Mark Ellis might be the present for the A's at second base, Jemile Weeks is looking more and more like the future every day. Weeks combined with a stellar Stockton pitching effort to lead the Ports to a 5-1 win over the rival Modesto Nuts on Monday.

Weeks extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 3-4 effort as the Ports' DH. He had a double, scored a run and stole his second base of the season. Since Weeks joined Stockton in late May, he has been a one-man wrecking crew at the plate. He has had a hit in every game he has played and is batting .385 with seven extra-base hits in 65 at-bats. He has also walked 10 times and driven-in 15 runs. His OPS currently sits at 1096. In June, Weeks is batting .422 with an 1158 OPS.

Outfielder Shane Keough also had a good offensive night for the Ports. He went 2-4 with an RBI and he is now riding a modest four-game hitting streak. He has two straight multi-hit games and is batting .308 with an 827 OPS for the month of June. Third baseman Christian Vitters added a triple and Jermaine Mitchell and Matt Smith each doubled for the Ports.

Those offensive contributions were more than enough for the Stockton pitching staff. Right-hander Scott Mitchinson got the start for Stockton. He came off of the DL to make the start, which was his first appearance since April 29th. Mitchinson was limited by a pitch count, but he was sharp in his two innings of work. He didn't allow a run or a hit, walking one and striking out four.

Regular starter Scott Hodsdon took over for Mitchinson in the third and he continued Mitchinson's good work. Hodsdon worked six strong innings, allowing only four hits and one run. He struck-out five and didn't walk a batter to earn the win. It was arguably Hodsdon's best outing of the year. Leonardo Espinal finished off the game with one scoreless inning.

The Ports had one roster move on Monday, as well. Catcher Raul Padron was promoted to Double-A Midland. Gabriel Ortiz, who had been acting as the Rockhounds' back-up catcher all season, was sent to short-season Vancouver to make room for Padron.

Rockhounds Hang On

The Midland Rockhounds snapped a five-game losing streak with a thrilling 7-6 win in 12 innings on Monday over Frisco. Adrian Cardenas led a 14-hit attack and Chris Carter had a walk-off single to keep the Rockhounds in first place by a game.

Cardenas has torn through Texas League pitching all season and that didn't change on Monday, as the Rockhounds' second baseman went 4-6 with two doubles and two RBIs. In 41 games for Midland this season, Cardenas is batting .382 with 19 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a 984 OPS. He has a 1:1 K:BB ratio.

In addition to Cardenas, Midland got multi-hit games from Carter (2-6), Matt Spencer (2-5) and Matt Sulentic (2-5). Sulentic also threw out a runner at homeplate. Spencer now has three straight multi-hit games and a five-game hitting streak. His average at Double-A is up to .290.

The Midland pitching struggled early, but the bullpen pitched very well late. Starter Jason Fernandez had an uneven outing, allowing four runs in five innings. It snapped a streak of three strong outings for the right-hander. Jonathan Hunton allowed two runs in two innings in relief of Fernandez and was charged with a blown save. However, those runs would be all Frisco could manage, as Michael Benacka, Sam Demel and Chris Farley combined to toss five scoreless innings. Farley earned his first win since returning from the DL on June 10th.

Demel's 2.1 scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 0.68. The right-hander has allowed only 20 hits in 26.1 innings this season and he has walked nine while striking out 22. He leads the Rockhounds with nine saves.

Sacramento Nipped By Rival Fresno

Like their major league brethren did over the weekend, the Triple-A San Francisco Giants beat the Triple-A Oakland A's on Monday night. Sacramento clawed back from an early 6-0 deficit to get within a run, but they couldn't complete the comeback, as they fell to Frisco by a score of 6-5.

Making his first start of the season, Jerome Williams was roughed up to the tune of six runs allowed in five innings. He allowed six hits and a walk and struck-out one. Chris Schroder and Jeff Gray would combine to toss three scoreless innings of relief to keep the game within reach, but it wasn't enough for Sacramento to pull out the win.

Eric Patterson, Eric Munson and Tom Everidge each had two hits in the losing effort. Everidge also walked in what was his best game since being promoted from Double-A Midland last week. Patterson doubled and tripled and added his 26th stolen base of the season. He was also thrown out trying to steal home. Aaron Cunningham had a double and two RBIs. He is 3-12 since being sent down to Triple-A from Oakland.

Kane County Falls In Game With Playoff Implications

The Kane County Cougars are vying for a first half division title, but they are getting a big push from Cedar Rapids and Clinton. The Cougars own a one-game lead over both teams with six games left to play in the first half.

The Cougars had a chance to create some separation between themselves and Cedar Rapids on Monday, but they weren't able to get it done, falling to the Kernels by a score of 6-1.

Starter Anthony Capra allowed three runs (two earned) and he walked four in four innings of work to earn the loss. Scott Deal, Josue Selenes and Brett Hunter each allowed a run in relief of Capra. For Selenes, it was his first appearance since May 9th, when he went on the disabled list. Cedar Rapids stole seven bases off of the Cougars on Monday.

On offense, the Cougars were controlled by Kernals lefty William Smith. Kane County managed only five hits and one run in eight innings against Smith. No Cougar had more than one hit in the game. Dusty Coleman and Jason Christian each doubled and Coleman had the team's only RBI.

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