Sacramento River Cats
The A's have kept the River Cats' front office busy the past few years with frequent roster changes, and this year is no different. The River Cats have already had more than 60 transactions since Opening Day.
The latest set of transactions involve the River Cats' pitching staff and catching corps. On Sunday, catchers Dusty Napoleon and Anthony Recker were sent to High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland, respectively, to make room for catcher Landon Powell, who was sent down on Friday from Oakland. The River Cats also welcomed back outfielder Matt Carson from the disabled list.
This roster didn't last long, however. While Napoleon stayed in Stockton (and went on the DL there), Recker returned to Sacramento a mere three days later, as Powell was recalled back to Oakland to replace outfielder Coco Crisp on the A's roster. The River Cats also moved left-hander Lenny DiNardo onto the disabled list with a sore left elbow.
DiNardo was replaced on the roster and in the River Cats' rotation by veteran left-hander John Halama, who signed with the A's on a minor league contract over the weekend. Halama, who pitched for the A's in 2003, was pitching in the independent Atlantic League.
A 23rd round pick in 1994, Halama, now 38, has pitched in parts of nine major league seasons and has a 4.65 ERA in his big league career. He debuted for Sacramento on Wednesday and was the winning pitcher after tossing seven shut-out innings in the River Cats' 8-1 win. He struck-out five, walked three and allowed six hits.
Recker went on and then off of the Rockhounds' roster this week without even playing an inning for Midland. The Rockhounds also had a shift at first base, as Matt Whitney joined the team from High-A Stockton and Steve Kleen was sent down to Stockton. Whitney was hitting .279 with a 961 OPS in 12 games with the Ports. He began the season at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from an injury.
Kleen returns to Stockton after batting .197 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 39 games for the Rockhounds. He hit .342 in 70 games for Stockton in 2009.
The Rockhounds will be without the services of right-hander Arnold Leon for the rest of the season. Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle reported on Thursday that Leon had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow this week.
Leon was signed by the A's to a six-figure bonus before the 2008 season out of the Mexican Summer League. Leon has continued to pitch for his Mexican Winter League club each off-season and has essentially been pitching non-stop since 2008. A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman had expressed concern about Leon's workload prior to this season. The A's had used Leon mostly as a reliever in an attempt to limit his innings and lower his risk for injury. Leon missed time last year with arm soreness, but was able to rehab the injury and return to the mound, where he found late-season success as a starter with Midland.
Leon had a strong spring training, but he allowed three runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings for Midland during the regular season before being shut-down.
The roster movement for the Ports has been relatively minimal this week. As mentioned earlier, the team welcomed Kleen back, said good-bye to Whitney and placed Napoleon on the DL.
Earlier this month, the Ports' bullpen got a big make-over, as hard-throwing right-handers Fautino De Los Santos and Brett Hunter joined the Ports from Extended Spring Training. Since arriving, De Los Santos has appeared in five games in relief. He has allowed three runs on six hits with two walks and six strike-outs in 5.2 innings. Hunter has made six appearances. In 5.1 innings, he has allowed three runs on five hits and four walks with eight strike-outs.
Stockton infielder Jason Christian is making progress on his rehab from a wrist injury. According to Lieppman, Christian is nearly finished with his rehab at home for the injury and should be reporting to Arizona to get back into game shape in a couple of weeks. Christian was batting .162 in 12 games before going on the DL on April 25.
Kane County Cougars
Walton was batting .276 with 18 RBIs in 24 games before being forced onto the DL with a thumb fracture. Affinito is on the DL with a right ankle sprain.