Oakland A's MLN: Pitchers On The Move Already

The season hasn't even started yet, but the roster movement has already begun among the Oakland A's affiliates. Only one day after the affiliates announced their Opening Day rosters, the A's made a series of moves affecting the pitching staffs for all four of the A's full season affiliates. We have the details inside...

It was moving day all over again for four pitchers in the Oakland A's minor league system. Graham Godfrey, Anthony Capra, Paul Smyth and Josh Lansford all found themselves heading to new cities one day after Opening Day rosters were announced.

Godfrey, who was originally assigned to Double-A Midland, is moving to Triple-A Sacramento, where he will presumably join the River Cats' rotation. Matt Wright, an off-season minor league free agent acquisition, has been removed from the River Cats' roster. Godfrey had been scheduled to be Midland's Opening Day starter. The right-hander, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2008 season for Marco Scutaro, was a Texas League mid-season and post-season All-Star in 2009 for Midland and seemingly had little left to prove in the Texas League. He went 11-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 28 starts for Midland last season and helped the Rockhounds capture the Texas League title.

Taking Godfrey's place in the Midland rotation will be Capra, a left-hander who led the A's minor league system in strike-outs last season with 170 in 152 innings for High-A Stockton and Low-A Kane County. Capra, who was the A's fourth round pick in 2008 out of Wichita State, had a 3.20 ERA in his first full professional season in 2009. He was named the A's Minor League Pitcher of the Year by Scout.com. Capra had been assigned to Stockton before today's moves.

Capra's spot on the Stockton roster will be taken by another pitcher who had a standout 2009 season, right-handed reliever Paul Smyth, who was originally assigned to Kane County. Smyth, a 35th round pick of the A's out of Kansas last season, was spectacular in his professional debut. He tossed 36.1 scoreless innings for short-season Vancouver and Low-A Kane County and he saved 11 games. Batters hit only .115 against him and he struck-out 44 while walking only four. Smyth was named the MLB.com Short-Season Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Filling in for Smyth in Kane County will be Lansford, who was sent to the Cougars from extended spring training. Lansford was signed to a minor league contract by the A's last week after being released by the Chicago Cubs. The former third baseman is in his second season as a pitcher. His younger brother Jared pitched for the Cougars in 2006 and tossed a no-hitter for Kane County that season.

Opening Day in the minor leagues is on Thursday. The A's two California-based affiliates - the Sacramento River Cats and the Stockton Ports - will be scrimmaging against each other in a home-and-home series starting tonight as a tune-up for the regular season.

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