A's Deal Hannahan To Seattle
The calendar has turned to July and the Oakland A's are dealing their way towards the trading deadline. Earlier in the week, the A's traded Ryan Webb (a member of the A's 40-man roster at the time), Craig Italiano and a player to be named later to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Scott Hairston. On Saturday, the A's dealt another 40-man roster member, third baseman Jack Hannahan, to Seattle for pitcher Justin Souza.
Hannahan spent parts of three seasons in the A's organization. He was acquired in 2007 from the Detroit Tigers for Jason Perry and immediately took over the A's third base job for an injured Eric Chavez. He hit well in his first stint with Oakland, batting .278 in 41 games in 2007.
Hannahan would spend the entire 2008 season with the A's, as Chavez continued to be sidelined with injuries. While he continued to flash an impressive glove at third, Hannahan's hitting fell off steeply, as he batted only .218 with eight homers in 143 games.
In 2009, the A's had a presumably healthy Chavez and new acquisition Nomar Garciaparra on the Opening Day roster, leaving Hannahan in Triple-A Sacramento to start the year. However, injuries quickly mounted in Oakland and Hannahan became the A's regular third baseman by late April. In 52 games with Oakland, he hit .193 with 36 strike-outs. Hannahan was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on July 1 and he hit .333 in eight games with Sacramento before the trade. Overall, Hannahan batted .222 with a 667 OPS in 21 games for the River Cats. He joined the Seattle 25-man roster after the trade and had a hit in three at-bats in his Mariners debut.
Souza, a right-hander from Stockton and an alum of Sacramento City College, was assigned to Double-A Midland after the trade. The 23-year-old had been pitching at Double-A West Tennessee, where he was 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 20 appearances (14 starts). He had 62 strike-outs and 18 walks in 78 innings and batters were hitting only .247 against him.
Souza was a ninth round pick of the Mariners in 2006. In four minor league seasons, Souza has displayed excellent command, walking only 64 in 280 innings. He has been used mostly as a reliever, making only 22 starts in 128 appearances, although 14 of those came this season. This was his first season at the Double-A level. In 2008, Souza made two appearances for Triple-A Tacoma, but he spent ost of the season with Low-A Wisconsin and High-A High Desert. For his career, he has a 4.18 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
In Souza, the A's are adding another power arm to their fast-growing stable in the minor leagues. Once known as an organization for pitchers with good command but not much oomph on their fastballs, the A's are now routinely drafting or acquiring pitchers who throw in the low- to mid-90s with regularity. Souza is yet another one of those arms. As a starter, he has sat regularly in the 90-92 range, but in relief, he was clocked in the mid-90s. He also has an improving slider. The A's may continue to keep Souza in the starting rotation for now to improve on his other secondary pitches, but his long-term future is most likely in the bullpen. In some ways, Souza replaces Ryan Webb on the A's depth chart as a hard-throwing right-handed reliever in the upper levels.
Other Roster Moves
The A's weren't done making moves with the Hannahan deal this weekend. Left-hander Dallas Braden was re-added to the A's 25-man roster in time to make a start on Saturday against Tampa Bay, in which he earned the victory. Braden had been on the bereavement list since Monday.
To make room for Braden, the A's sent right-hander Jeff Gray back to Sacramento. It is the third time this season that Gray has been recalled to Oakland, only to make one appearance before being sent back down. He has retired all five batters he has faced in the big leagues this season, including throwing a perfect inning on Friday night in the A's loss to the Rays. Gray has a 1.99 ERA for Sacramento this season.
The A's also announced on Saturday that left-hander Dana Eveland had been optioned to Sacramento. Eveland had been designated for assignment on Tuesday for the purpose of gaining option waivers. He remains on the A's 40-man roster. Jeff Baisley has also returned to the Sacramento roster after a stint on the DL.
In minor league moves, the A's added former Chicago White Sox reliever Dewon Day on a minor league contract on Friday. Day, a 29-year-old right-hander, had a 4.76 ERA in 28.1 innings for Triple-A Durham before being released by the Rays. He allowed two runs in his first appearance with the Midland Rockhounds on Saturday.
Day appeared in 13 games for the White Sox in 2007, allowing 15 runs in 12 innings. He is a fastball-slider pitcher. Day was a 2002 26th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays.
To make room for Day on the Midland roster, the A's released lefty James Heuser. Heuser was a 27th round pick of the A's in 2003. He struggled with arm injuries his first few seasons in the A's seasons, but he was healthy starting in 2007, when he went 11-8 with a 4.12 ERA for the Low-A Kane County Cougars. In 2008, Heuser won nine games for High-A Stockton and helped the Ports win a California League championship. He converted from an overhand starter to a sidearming reliever in 2008. This season, Heuser was with Double-A Midland, where he had made 32 appearances and had a 6.03 ERA. Heuser was struggling with his command this season, walking 33 in 37.1 innings.
Corey Wimberly has also been added to the Midland roster after spending 10 weeks on the disabled list with a fractured wrist. He had rehabbed in four games with the AZL A's before re-joining Midland. Wimberly went 0-4 in his return to the Rockhounds and is batting .329 with the Rockhounds overall. He is hitless in five games since starting his rehab in four games with the AZL A's and one with the Rockhounds.
To make room for Wimberly, right-hander Mike Madsen has been sent back to Arizona to continue his rehab from shoulder problems. Madsen allowed five runs in six innings with Midland with six walks and one strike-out.
The A's have also added right-hander Daniel Thomas to the Kane County Cougars' roster. Thomas began the year on the Stockton Ports' roster, but he was sidelined in late April with a torn labrum. Thomas has rehabbed the shoulder and made two appearances with the AZL A's before joining the Cougars. He allowed a run on one hit, one walk and two strike-outs in two innings in Arizona.
News and Notes
* Pedro Figueroa continued his impressive season on Saturday when he won his California League debut with seven shut-out innings for the Stockton Ports. Figueroa walked two, allowed two hits and struck-out seven in the Ports' 5-4 win. It was his 11th overall win this season, the most in the A's system. He has a 2.99 ERA in 17 games for Stockton and Kane County this season. The Ports have now won a season-best four in a row. Grant Desme and Yusuf Carter both homered. Desme's was his seventh since joining the Ports (17 games). He has 18 homers in 86 games this season, the most in the A's system.
* The Vancouver Canadians shut-out the Boise Hawks on Saturday, winning 7-0. Joselito Adames tossed six shut-out innings for his first win of the season. He allowed four hits and didn't walk a batter. Kent Walton had four hits and two RBIs. Ryne Jernigan had three hits and is batting .368 on the season and Jose Crisostomo had two hits and is batting .321 in 15 games.
* Chad Lee won his debut with the Kane County Cougars in the Cougars' 6-4 win over Great Lakes on Saturday. Lee allowed two earned runs in five innings, the first two runs he had allowed all season after tossing 15 scoreless with the Canadians to start the year. Stephen Parker hit his third homer for Kane County and Nino Leyja hit his first for the Cougars in the win. David Thomas had two hits, including a triple.
* Sacramento scored a run in the 13th inning to eek out a 7-6 over Fresno. The River Cats have a 9.5 game lead over Reno in their division. Two former A's farmhands homered against the River Cats, Jesus Guzman hit his 10th and Ben Copeland hit his third. Aaron Cunningham, Jeff Baisley and Gregorio Petit had multi-hit games in the win. Petit had two doubles and three RBIs. Eric Patterson stole his 31st base of the season. Chris Schroder earned the win with three scoreless innings and Henry Rodriguez notched his first Triple-A save with a scoreless bottom of the 13th. He has struck-out seven over his last three innings and he hasn't allowed a walk.
* The Midland Rockhounds dropped their seventh consecutive game on Saturday, an 8-0 decision to Arkansas. Jason Fernandez allowed four runs in the first inning and it was downhill from there. Raul Padron had two hits in a quiet night for the Rockhounds' offense. Midland is without Chris Carter, who is in St. Louis with Jemile Weeks to participate in the MLB Futures Game.
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