Oakland A's MLN: Weekend In Review

Find out what went on around the Oakland A's system this weekend in the latest edition of our Oakland A's minor league notebook.

Cespedes Returns; Straily Set To Start For Oakland

The Oakland A's struggled mightily without their star outfielder in the line-up, and Yoenis Cespedes made his presence felt immediately in his first game back with Oakland on Sunday. Cespedes hit a two-run homerun with one-out in the 9th inning to bring the A's into an 8-8 tie with the Baltimore Orioles. The A's would win the game in the bottom of the 10th when the Orioles made a throwing error on a bunt attempt.

Before Cespedes' blast, the A's looked set for their fifth straight loss and a four-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles. Even with the win, the A's are 2-8 over their last 10 games. The A's have lost five games in the standings to the Texas Rangers over that stretch and are 14-12 on the season, 2.5 games behind Texas for first place.

Pitching has been a big problem for the A's during their rough 10 games. The rotation could be in-store for some changes in the coming weeks. Dan Straily will start for the A's on Monday in place of Brett Anderson, who will miss the start with a strained ankle. Anderson is expected only to miss the one start, but Straily could stick around for the longterm if he pitches well and Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone or A.J. Griffin struggle in their next turn.

Straily allowed two runs in 6.2 innings in his only other start for the A's this season. That start came against the lowly Houston Astros and Straily struck-out a career-high 11 in that game. He was sent back to Triple-A Sacramento after that game to make room for Bartolo Colon. Since returning to the minors, Straily has been very effective. In three starts, he is 3-0 with an 0.96 ERA. Straily has a 20:6 K:BB ratio in 18.2 innings and, perhaps most importantly, he hasn't allowed a homer.

The A's designated OF Casper Wells for assignment to make room for Cespedes on the 25-man roster. Wells was claimed by Oakland on Monday from the Blue Jays and he appeared in three games for the A's. Wells went 0-for-5 with a strike-out. This is the third time Wells has been DFA'd since the end of spring training.

Jane Lee of MLB.com reported on Twitter that RHP Jesse Chavez will be sent back to Sacramento on Monday to make room for Straily on the 25-man roster. Chavez made three relief appearances for the A's. He allowed three runs in 4.1 innings with three strike-outs and a walk. Chavez had been in the starting rotation for Sacramento before his promotion and he could return to the rotation when he gets back to Sacramento.

Taylor Powers River Cats To Sweep

Michael Taylor hit two key homeruns over the weekend to give the River Cats three straight wins and a four-game sweep over the Salt Lake Bees. Taylor returned to the River Cats from Oakland on Thursday. He went 0-for-9 with three strike-outs on Thursday and Friday, but then on Saturday hit a game-tying homer in the River Cats' come-from-behind win and then homered again on Sunday. Taylor now has five homers in 13 games for Sacramento this season.

The River Cats benefited from Yoenix Cespedes' rehab assignment Thursday through Saturday. He went 3-for-9 with five runs scored, four RBI and a homerun.

Middle infielder Jemile Weeks hit his first homerun of the season on Sunday and he went 3-for-7 with four walks on the weekend. Weeks has 14 walks in 22 games this season.

Utilityman Grant Green had a homer and four RBI on Saturday and is riding a five-game hitting streak. He had five hits in 11 at-bats over the weekend and is batting .425/.511/.575 over his last 10 games.

Outfielder Michael Choice hit safely in all three games this weekend and he has a six-game hitting streak. Choice walked three times this weekend and he has a .404 OBP in 22 games this season.

Right-hander Bruce Billings has been off to a slow start this season, but he had a good outing on Sunday. Billings replaced Dan Straily as the starter and went six strong innings to earn the win. He allowed a run on three hits. Billings didn't walk a batter and he struck-out five.

Left-hander Hideki Okajima struck-out the side for the save on Saturday. It was his fifth straight outing without allowing a run. Okajima has 14 strike-outs and he has walked only one batter in 11.2 relief innings this season. The veteran reliever is holding opposing batters to a .175 average.

RockHounds Drop Two-of-Three To Missions

After an 11-4 win over San Antonio on Friday, Midland dropped two straight one-run games to the Missions on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday's 4-3 loss came in 11 innings.

First baseman Anthony Aliotti had two hits in each of the three games this weekend. He is batting .350 over his last 10 games and .348 for the season. Three of Aliotti's six hits this weekend were doubles. He has eight doubles on the season.

Outfielder Jake Goebbert hit safely in all three games this weekend and he now has a 15-game hitting streak. Goebbert was 4-for-13 on the weekend. He is batting .320/.393/.533 in 75 at-bats this season.

Right-hander Zach Neal allowed 11 hits in 7.2 innings on Friday, but he still earned the win. Neal struck-out five and walked only one. He has a 2.25 ERA and a 21:5 K:BB in 28 innings this season.

Right-hander Sean Murphy had another strong outing in his second start for Midland since his promotion from High-A Stockton. On Saturday, Murphy allowed two runs in 5.2 innings. He struck-out six and walked only one. Murphy has 11 strike-outs and four walks in his first 12.1 innings for Midland.

Shortstop Dusty Coleman had four RBI on Friday and he is riding a five-game hitting streak. Coleman is now batting .315 on the season.

Outfielder Jeremy Barfield homered on Friday, giving him a team-high five homeruns for the season. He went 3-for-3 with two walks in that game. His OPS is up to 872 for the year after a slow start.

It has been a very slow start to the season for catcher David Freitas, but he had a possible breakthrough game on Sunday when he went 2-for-4 with his first homer of the season. Freitas has only seven hits in 40 at-bats for Midland this season through Sunday.

Corner infielder Miles Head continues to struggle in the early going. He went 2-for-11 this weekend, and he is hitting only .183/.230/.293 in 82 at-bats overall this season. Head has walked only four times and he has struck-out 20 times.

Stockton Slugging It Out Down South

The Stockton Ports swung the bats well over the weekend, but they dropped two-of-three to the High Desert Mavericks. On Friday, the Ports lost, 9-6, but they rebounded for a 17-7 win on Saturday. They lost the last game of their roadtrip, 11-6. The Ports will have an off-day on Monday before starting a homestand on Tuesday.

Infielder Antonio Lamas had a big weekend. On Saturday, he collected five hits in seven at-bats, and he went 7-for-13 with a homer and three RBI on the weekend. Lamas has a .342/.405/.500 line with three homers in 76 at-bats this season.

Outfielder Josh Whitaker extended his hitting streak to six games with a 6-for-13 effort this weekend. Whitaker has put a slow start behind him and has an 838 OPS over his last 10 games.

Third baseman B.A. Vollmuth homered two times and walked three times over the weekend. Vollmuth is having a strange season at the plate. He is batting only .165 and he has struck-out 28 times in 22 games. However, he has six homeruns and a .430 SLG with 16 RBI.

Infielder Tony Thompson had two homeruns in the Ports' win on Saturday. He doubled his season total in that game. Thompson has an 818 OPS over his last 10 games.

A's 2012 top pick Addison Russell hit his first homerun of the season on Saturday and doubled in Sunday's game. Russell's slash line for the season is still only .200/.353/.327, but he has a .211/.388/.368 line over his last 10 games. Russell has walked 13 times in 14 games, although he has 22 strike-outs.

Reliever Pedro Vidal returned to the Ports on Thursday after spending a week with Triple-A Sacramento. He took David Mota's roster spot. Mota was placed on the disabled list with a left foot contusion.

Beloit Drops Three In A Row

It was a tough weekend for the Beloit pitching staff, as the Snappers dropped three in a row. On Friday, they lost a slugfest, 16-10, to South Bend, and then fell to the Silver Hawks in a series finale, 13-5, on Saturday. The Snappers began a new series with West Michigan on Sunday and lost the opener, 5-3.

A's 2012 supplemental first-round pick Daniel Robertson made his regular season debut this weekend for Beloit. Robertson was held back at the start of the season at extended spring training to finish rehabbing his knee. Robertson had surgery on the knee to repair a torn meniscus last fall.

Robertson appeared in two of the three games this weekend (Friday and Sunday). In his Friday debut, Robertson went 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and a walk. He scored three runs and drove-in three. Robertson went 1-for-4 with a caught stealing on Sunday.

Fellow 2012 supplemental first-round pick Matt Olson hit his first homerun of the season on Sunday. The first-baseman got off to a slow start this year, but he has been hot lately. Over his last 10 games, Olson has a .290/.476/.484 line with 11 walks, three doubles and that homerun. Olson has a four-game hitting streak through Sunday.

Third baseman Renato Nunez extended his hitting streak to 12 games over the weekend. Nunez only went 3-for-13 this weekend, but he is still batting .385/..429/.667 with 10 RBI over his last 10 games.

Outfielder Brett Vertigan hit safely in all three games this weekend to raise his average to .274. He had a triple on Friday and a double on Saturday and was 4-for-12 overall.

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