Oakland A's MLN: Desme Inching Closer

Grant Desme moved himself closer to achieving a statistical milestone on Thursday in Stockton. We have the details of Thursday's action in the Oakland A's system, as well as some news and notes inside...

Desme Moving Closer To 30-30

It has been so long since the Oakland A's have had a 30-30 player in their system that even the A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman couldn't think of when the last time was that an A's farmhand reached that statistical milestone. Stockton Grant Desme crept closer to that achievement on Thursday when he blasted his 28th homer of the season. Desme already has 37 stolen bases.

Unfortunately for the Stockton Ports, Desme's blast wasn't enough for the team to pull out a victory over their rivals, the Modesto Nuts. Stockton managed only Desme's solo homer and two RBIs from Jermaine Mitchell, as the Ports fell by a score of 4-3.

Starter Carlos Hernandez had one bad inning, and it cost him. He went seven strong innings, but allowed four runs in the second and that was enough to earn the loss. He struck-out seven and walked one. Mickey Storey gave the Ports a chance to earn the win late with two scoreless innings in relief. He struck-out five and allowed only one hit.

The story for the Ports right now is Desme's attempt to reach that exclusive 30-30 club. The centerfielder began the year with Kane County and he hit .274 with 11 homers and 24 stolen bases in 69 games for the Cougars before being promoted to Stockton. Since arriving in Stockton, he has been a one-man wrecking crew. He has hit 17 homers, swiped 13 bases and has posted an 1033 OPS in 53 games.

This is Desme's first full pro season. The Cal Poly alum was the A's 2007 second round pick, but he missed virtually all of last season with shoulder and wrist injuries.

Barton Rehabs With Ports

A's first-baseman Daric Barton continued his rehab from a hamstring injury on Thursday, this time in Stockton. Barton had been rehabbing in Arizona with the A's Rookie League team. He went 0-4 for the Ports on Thursday.

According to Lieppman, Barton has looked healthy while he was in Arizona. He will either join the Sacramento River Cats when they return from their East Coast roadtrip or rejoin the A's directly, possibly as soon as this weekend.

Chacon Sharp In River Cats' Win

Sacramento earned a 6-1 victory over the Nashville Sounds on Thursday night. Anthony Recker led the way for the River Cats with a 3-4 night that included a run-scoring double off of rehabbing Brewers' starter Jeff Suppan. Jeff Baisley, Matt Carson, Adrian Cardenas and Eric Patterson had multi-hit nights.

Starter Shawn Chacon earned the win over Suppan with seven outstanding innings. He allowed only two hits and one run with four strike-outs and two walks. Brad Kilby and Jerry Blevins nailed down the win by pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively.

The River Cats' offense has been hot and a number of Sacramento hitters extended streaks on Thursday. Recker has hit safely in seven out of his last eight games and is batting .429 over his last 10 games. He has a .251 average and a 754 OPS for Sacramento this season.

Baisley is now working on a six-game hitting streak and he has raised his average to .245 with a .328 average for the month of August. Cardenas added his third consecutive multi-hit game and he has a five-game hitting streak and a .436 average over his last 10 games. Cardenas hit second on Thursday after batting near the bottom of the River Cats' line-up for his first few weeks with the team. Carson homered for the second straight game to extend his River Cats' team lead to 18 for the season.

Brett Wallace had what for him lately would qualify as an off-night, collecting only one run-scoring hit in five at-bats. Wallace has been on a tear on the River Cats' road-trip. In seven games against Memphis and Nashville, Wallace is 13-31 with five homers and nine RBIs. He has drive-in runs in five straight games. Since joining the A's organization, Wallace is batting .306 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 26 games.

Simmons Day-To-Day

Sacramento starter James Simmons struck-out 11 in six innings in his last start on August 5th. Unfortunately, the A's first pick from the 2007 draft hasn't been able to build on that start, as he has been out with a strained right deltoid muscle. According to Lieppman, Simmons is day-to-day with the injury and it isn't clear whether he will make it back on the field before the end of the regular season.

Leon Dazzles Again in Midland Win

Arnold Leon had made himself into a solid prospect as a reliever during his first year-plus in the A's organization. He is quickly becoming an even better prospect as a starter since he moved into the rotation at the start of August.

In four starts, Leon has allowed only one run on eight hits and two walks in 16.2 innings. He has struck-out 15. As a reliever, Leon had a 4.74 ERA in 43.2 innings for Midland this season. In three of Leon's four starts, he has allowed no runs and he has allowed two or fewer hits. In his first start, Leon combined with Jason Fernandez to toss a no-hitter.

On Thursday, in his fourth start of the season, Leon was brilliant once again. The only thing that got to him was his pitch count, which is still limited as he makes the transition from relieving. In 4.2 innings, Leon allowed five hits and no runs. He struck-out six and walked none.

Justin Friend, Jonathan Hunton and Jared Lansford combined to toss 4.1 innings of two-run baseball to help the Rockhounds earn a 3-2 victory over NW Arkansas. Lansford earned his 10th save of the season and Friend notched his first Double-A win.

The Rockhounds' offense was limited to only three runs, but they did collect 10 hits. Corey Wimberly, Chris Carter and Alexander Valdez had multi-hit games. Jemile Weeks had a two-RBI single that proved to be the difference in the game.

Carter made another start in the outfield, something that has happened with frequency since last Friday. He spent some of the game in left and some at first base, with Shane Peterson swapping spots with Carter defensively. According to Lieppman, Carter's move into the outfield isn't being done with any specific promotion plan in mind for this season. The A's coaching staff had been interested in seeing Carter play in the outfield for awhile and it worked out that with the Rockhounds' current roster alignment, it made sense for Carter to give the outfield a shot. Lieppman has been pleased with how Carter has done out there thus far.

Kane County and Vancouver Fall

The Kane County Cougars and Vancouver Canadians both lost on Thursday night. The Cougars dropped a 5-1 decision to Beloit, while the C's lost to Eugene by a score of 4-2.

Ryne Jernigan had a homer for Vancouver, his second of the season, and Tyreace House had two hits to pace the Vancouver offense. Ronny Morla got the loss by allowing three earned runs in 4.1 innings.

Kane County's struggling offense managed only six hits, as Leonardo Gil, Tyler Ladendorf and Chris Berroa each had two hits. Ladendorf drove-in the Cougars' only run. Shawn Haviland got the loss. He allowed two runs in 4.2 innings.

Update On A's Recent Signees

The A's Arizona-based coaching staff are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Oakland's recently signed draft picks Grant Green, Max Stassi and Ian Krol, all of whom signed on Monday.

Green, Stassi and Krol will all report to the A's complex at Papago Park over the next few days. After undergoing physicals and the standard first-year player drills and orientation, the three 2009 picks could see playing time either in the Arizona Rookie League or the Northwest League during the season's final weeks. Lieppman anticipates that Green won't be ready to play in either of those leagues and instead will debut during the A's Instructional League, but Stassi and Krol could report to the A's Rookie League affiliate or to short-season Vancouver if they are fit.

De Los Santos Progressing

After missing a month, A's pitching prospect Fautino De Los Santos is back on track with his rehab from 2008 Tommy John surgery. De Los Santos has made three appearances since August 9th. The first two appearances were single-inning outings, but the most recent outing was a two-inning affair. In total, De Los Santos has tossed eight innings in five outings for the AZL A's this season. He has 10 strike-outs and one walk over that stretch.

Despite the progress, De Los Santos isn't expected to play for any other affiliate but the AZL A's this season. He is ticketed to participate in the A's Arizona Instructional League this fall.

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