Saturday, August 1st: Barry Zito Earns 7th Win for Sounds while HRs by Matt Olson & Matt Chapman Help Hounds & Ports Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Barry Zito (6 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Barry Zito (6 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds         9

Omaha Storm Chasers  4

WP – Zito 7-7 / 3.64

HR – Roberts (5)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Barry Zito

(6 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K / Win)

LHP Barry Zito turned in another strong start for the Sounds, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 7th win on Saturday. The veteran starter has been very consistent for Nashville over the past five weeks, posting an ERA of 3.00 in his last seven starts for the Sounds. RHP Taylor Thompson gave up 2 unearned runs on just 1 hit over 1 1/3 innings in his first rehab appearance for Nashville, while switch-pitcher Pat Venditte allowed no runs in 2/3 of an inning in what could be his last rehab game for the Sounds. Left fielder Ryan Roberts ripped a 3-run homer in the top of the 1st to give the Sounds a lead they would never relinquish on Saturday, while first baseman Nate Freiman collected 3 doubles and drove in a run, and designated hitter Anthony Aliotti had 2 hits and drove in a pair for Nashville.

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Friday, July 31st: Sean Manaea Tosses 7 Shutout Innings in Midland Debut while Daniel Mengden Impresses Again in Stockton Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Seth Manaea (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds LHP Sean Manaea (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     0

Midland RockHounds  4

WP – Manaea 1-1 / 2.57

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Sean Manaea

(7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

Former 1st-round draft pick Sean Manaea, who was recently acquired from Kansas City in the Ben Zobrist trade, couldn’t have made a much better impression in his debut for Midland on Friday. The big lefty allowed just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 9 over 7 shutout innings to earn the win for the RockHounds. The 23-year-old threw a total of 87 pitches, 62 of them for strikes, while RHP Tucker Healy pitched a perfect 8th and 9th to complete the 3-hit shutout for Midland. Outfielder Jaycob Brugman singled, tripled and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Ryon Healy singled, doubled and scored a run, and outfielder Chad Oberacker had a pair of hits and a walk and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, with Manaea’s addition to the roster, RHP Tim Atherton was placed on the disabled list for Midland.

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Thursday, July 30th: Brad Mills Is Solid Again in Sounds Loss as Brent Morel Joins Nashville, Dayan Viciedo Is Released and All Six A’s Affiliates Fall

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Brad Mills (7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Brad Mills (7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Iowa Cubs               5

Nashville Sounds  4

LP – Coke 0-2 / 11.37

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Brad Mills

(7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

LHP Brad Mills turned in his third straight quality start for the Sounds, allowing just 1 run while striking out 5 over 7 innings of work, and he left the game with a 2-run lead on Thursday. But RHP Brock Huntzinger gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in the 8th inning to allow Iowa to tie the game. And it remained tied until the top of the 12th, when LHP Phil Coke surrendered 2 runs to suffer his 2nd loss for the Sounds. First baseman Nate Frieman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while outfielder Jason Pridie drew 3 walks and singled in a run, and Nashville’s new third baseman, Brent Morel, singled and doubled in a run for the Sounds. The A’s signed Morel, a former 3rd-round draft pick for the White Sox who’s appeared in 220 major league games, to a minor league contract after he was given his release by the Pirates earlier in the week. In order to make room for him on the Sounds roster, the A’s released another recent minor league free agent signee, Dayan Viciedo, who struggled at Nashville, posting a .221/.282/.336 slash line in just 30 games for the Sounds.

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Getting to Know the A’s Hot New Prospects

It’s been a busy week for the A’s – and for A’s fans trying to keep up with all the team’s latest acquisitions. The bottom line is that the A’s dealt Ben Zobrist and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard for four pitching prospects and a young catching prospect – all between the ages of 20 and 25. With the A’s not looking like a winning team this year and the players they dealt all set to hit free agency after the season, there was no reason not to trade them for the best prospects the team could get. But who are these talented youngsters and what can A’s fans expect from them in the future? Let’s take a look…

 

jn641924Jacob Nottingham – Catcher

Acquired: from Houston Astros for Scott Kazmir

Drafted: 2013 – 6th Round

Age: 20 / Height: 6’3” / Weight: 230

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A/A+): 359 PA / 14 HR / .321 AVG / .379 OBP / .535 SLG / .914 OPS

The only position player the A’s acquired in their recent haul, Nottingham was drafted by the Astros in the 6th round in 2013 as a hot-hitting high school catcher. Now 20, the California native has really blossomed this season, hitting 14 home runs and 24 doubles while putting up a .321/.379/.535 slash line in 83 games in the Midwest League and the California League. His 24 walks in 359 plate appearances is atypical for the A’s, and he tends to strike out a little too much too. Nottingham is starting out in Stockton, but as long as he can keep hitting for power and hitting for a high enough average to assure that he gets on base, then the big backstop should move quickly through an A’s system that is currently devoid of top-tier catching talent.

 

dm596043Daniel Mengden – Pitcher

Acquired: from Houston Astros for Scott Kazmir

Drafted: 2014 – 4th Round

Age: 22 / Height: 6’2” / Weight: 190

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A+/A): 93 1/3 IP / 90 H / 35 ER / 26 BB / 92 K / 3.38 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

Drafted by the Astros last year in the 4th round out of Texas A&M, Mengden has the least professional experience of any of the A’s recent pitching pickups. The Houston native pitched only 11 innings after signing in 2014, but he’s put up a 3.38 ERA over 93 1/3 innings in the California League and the Midwest League this year. Mengden has shown solid command, walking just 27 while striking out 109 in 104 1/3 career minor league innings. He had a perfect game through 4 2/3 innings in his first start for Stockton last weekend and ended up allowing just 1 hit over 5 innings of work in his debut. And if that wasn’t enough to start him off on the right foot, Mengden has also been known to wax his mustache a la Rollie Fingers at times, which ought to help endear him to A’s fans as well.

 

cm641861Casey Meisner – Pitcher

Acquired: from New York Mets for Tyler Clippard

Drafted: 2013 – 3rd Round

Age: 20 / Height: 6’7” / Weight: 190

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (A/A+): 111 IP / 94 H / 29 ER / 33 BB / 89 K / 2.35 ERA / 1.14 WHIP

The youngest and the tallest of the A’s pitching pickups, the 6’7” righty was drafted by the Mets in the 3rd round in 2013 as a hard-throwing high schooler. Many consider Meisner to be the best pure pitching prospect of the pack, and MLB.com currently ranks him as the A’s #10 prospect. The Texas native just turned 20 in May and has thrown just 35 innings in High-A, so he’s still got a ways to go. But with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 111 innings in the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League this season, Meisner clearly knows what he’s doing despite his young age, and he’ll have the chance to try to work his magic on California League hitters when he soon joins Stockton.

 

sm640455Sean Manaea – Pitcher

Acquired: from Kansas City Royals for Ben Zobrist

Drafted: 2013 – 1st Round

Age: 23 / Height: 6’5” / Weight: 235

Bats: Left / Throws: Left

2015 (AA/A+/Rk): 31 2/3 IP / 33 H / 13 ER / 11 BB / 39 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.39 WHIP

The only 1st-round pick in the pack, Manaea was selected 34th overall with the Royals’ second pick in the 1st round of the 2013 draft and many think he has the biggest upside of the bunch. The big lefty out of Indiana State was slowed by an abdominal injury earlier this season but, when healthy, has shown the ability to accumulate strikeouts in bunches. Manaea has whiffed 185 batters over 153 1/3 career minor league innings while allowing just 7 home runs over that time. And after dominating at High-A last season, he’ll get the chance to show what he can do with Midland at Double-A during the final month of the minor league season.

 

ab605156Aaron Brooks – Pitcher

Acquired: from Kansas City Royals for Ben Zobrist

Drafted: 2011 – 9th Round

Age: 25 / Height: 6’4” / Weight: 220

Bats: Right / Throws: Right

2015 (AAA): 106 2/3 IP / 118 H / 44 ER / 21 BB / 92 K / 3.71 ERA / 1.30 WHIP

2015: (MLB): 4 1/3 IP / 6 H / 3 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 6.23 ERA / 1.39 WHIP

The most experienced of the A’s recent pitching acquisitions, the 25-year-old Brooks has appeared in a total of 4 games for the Royals over the past two seasons while also pitching in 43 games at Triple-A. The California native has shown exceptional control over his career and has walked just 21 batters in 106 2/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha this year. Since he isn’t particularly overpowering, Brooks probably profiles as more of a back-end starter, and he’ll get the chance to make his first start for the A’s this Saturday against Cleveland.

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Wednesday, July 29th: Ryon Healy’s 5 Hits Help Hounds Win 5th Straight while Matt Chapman Hits 22nd HR in Ports Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Ryon Healy (5 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Ryon Healy (5 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  5

Frisco RoughRiders       4

WP – Sanchez 8-7 / 5.02

HR – Healy (7)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Ryon Healy

(5 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

Third baseman Ryon Healy had a big night at the plate for the RockHounds on Wednesday, collecting 5 hits, including his 7th home run, while driving in 3 runs to help the Hounds win their fifth straight. And it was the second time this season that Healy’s had a 5-hit game. Second baseman Colin Walsh had 3 hits, including a double, to run his hitting streak to 17 games, while right fielder Matt Olson and designated hitter Rangel Ravelo each singled in a run in the 1st for the RockHounds. Starter Jake Sanchez was solid, allowing just 2 unearned runs while striking out 6 over 6 innings of work to earn his 8th win on Wednesday. RHP Brendan McCurry pitched 2 perfect innings in his first appearance for Midland, and RHP Seth Frankoff picked up his 6th save despite giving up 2 runs in the 9th for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, recently-acquired LHP Sean Manaea has joined the team and should soon be officially added to the RockHounds roster.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Tuesday, July 28th: Parker Frazier Earns 3rd Straight Win for Hounds while Coco Crisp Hits 2 HRs in Rehab Appearance for Stockton

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Parker Frazier (6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Parker Frazier (6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  6

Frisco RoughRiders       1

WP – Frazier 3-0 / 0.34

HR – Rickles (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Parker Frazier

(6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Parker Frazier, who was acquired from the Arizona organization earlier in the month, turned in his third straight quality start on Tuesday, allowing just 1 unearned run while striking out 5 over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for Midland. And Frazier has now failed to allow an earned run in 20 2/3 innings over his last 3 starts for the RockHounds. Catcher Nick Rickles singled and slugged a 2-run homer, while first baseman Rangel Ravelo singled, doubled and drove in a pair, and outfielder Chad Oberacker collected 2 hits and 2 walks, stole 2 bases and scored 3 times in the win. Meanwhile, Midland’s saves leader, RHP Ryan Dull, was promoted to Nashville and Stockton’s saves leader, RHP Brendan McCurry, was reassigned to the RockHounds.

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Monday, July 27th: Matt Olson’s 2 HRs Help Hounds Win while Barry Zito Struggles in Sounds Loss and Yairo Munoz & Trent Gilbert Make Debuts for Ports

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Matt Olson (2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Matt Olson (2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  12

Frisco RoughRiders         9

WP – Joseph 7-4 / 4.20

HR – Olson 2 (12), Walsh (12), Ravelo (2)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(2 Home Runs / 5 RBI)

First baseman Matt Olson has definitely been heating up again as we approach the final month of the minor league season. On Monday, he hit a pair of home runs, a 2-run shot to give his team the lead in the top of the 4th as well as a 3-run drive in the 5th, to give Olson a total of 4 home runs over his last 5 games. Designated hitter Rangel Ravelo doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while second baseman Colin Walsh homered in the 1st and singled in a run in the 8th, and shortstop Chad Pinder and outfielder Chad Oberacker had a pair of hits apiece for the Hounds. Starter Jonathan Joseph allowed 5 runs over 5 1/3 innings of work to pick up his 7th win, while LHP Omar Duran was charged with 4 runs in just 1/3 of an inning in relief, and RHP Ryan Dull got the final two outs in the 9th to notch his 12th save for Midland.

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Sunday, July 26th: Matt Olson’s HR Helps Hounds Win while Matt Chapman Hits 21st HR in Ports Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter Matt Olson (Home Run / Double)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter Matt Olson (Home Run / Double)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions    5

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Jensen 6-9 / 5.68

HR – Olson (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Matt Olson

(Home Run / Double)

A’s top prospect Matt Olson started off the season hot, hitting 6 home runs in 20 games in April. He cooled off considerably in May and June though, hitting just 1 home run in each month. But Olson’s been getting his power stroke back lately. He hit his second home run in Midland’s 4-game series with San Antonio on Sunday and also collected his 8th double of the month in the game. Second baseman Colin Walsh had 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, while first baseman Rangel Ravelo had 2 hits and a walk and drove in the go-ahead run for the RockHounds. Starter Chris Jensen allowed 4 runs over 7 innings of work to earn his 6th win, while RHP Ryan Doolittle got the final six outs to post his 1st save for Midland.

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Exclusive: Get the Inside Scoop on Nashville’s Top Players from Sounds Skipper Steve Scarsone

ssB9315342755Z.1_20141202162702_000_G409A1E4E.1-0cAfter spending parts of seven seasons as a big league infielder, Steve Scarsone has now spent seven seasons managing in the A’s minor league system.

He’s currently midway through his third season managing at Triple-A, though this year the California native had to head east as the A’s Pacific Coast League affiliate switched from Sacramento to Nashville.

Scarsone is handling a veteran club this year in Nashville where the average age is close to 29 and there are very few young prospects on the roster. We took the opportunity to talk with the skipper in Nashville last weekend to get his take on some of the team’s top players…

 

AF:  I know you spent a lot of time watching Max Muncy in the big league camp this spring, and now he’s back here with you at Nashville. I don’t know if you had the chance to see much of him playing at the major league level.

SS:  Not as much as you’d hope. A lot of times we’re playing at the same time. And by the time our game’s over, if they’re still playing, it’s like…

mmMuncy, Max2AF:  The last thing you need at that point is more baseball…

SS:  Sometimes, to be honest! But we tried to follow him as best we could. I know he wasn’t getting the consistent play, but that’s what he was brought up to do was to be that guy to help out and fill in. And it sounds like he did a pretty good job of it. It’s not easy for a guy to go up for his first time and not be in the everyday lineup and have to try to figure out not only how to compete at that level but how to compete at that level with three or four days in between games. I think it was a great experience for him. I think he’s taken a lot of positives out of it. And now, being here and playing every day, I think he’s shown a huge improvement defensively at third base, which is still somewhat of a new position for him. And his swing plays very nicely in this game – it’s a short swing. He has considerable power, very good pitch recognition, and he’s not afraid to take a walk. He’ll wait for his pitch. Right now he’s kind of struggling, but that won’t last very long. He’ll be fine. I think he’s going to be something that we’ll try to hold on to in this organization and see if we can find a spot for him.

AF:  So is there anything in particular that he needs to do to get himself into a position to get back up there?

SS:  No. From reports that I’ve heard, his return here was not due to his lack of performance. He was just kind of the odd man out up there. To be honest, with his age and experience level, getting a good half-season in Triple-A would be to his advantage – seeing some advanced pitching day in and day out and getting a chance to learn from his teammates and see how to handle himself on and off the field. He’s still relatively young. This year’s his first year in Triple-A, and getting an opportunity to play in the big leagues for a spell was icing on the cake for him. But I think he’s got a good mental outlook on what he needs to continue to try to fight towards, and I think he’ll be fine.

AF:  Like Muncy, one of the other younger position players you’ve got on this team here is Joey Wendle. So what have you seen out of him this year and where do you feel he’s at in his development?

SS:  I think the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Joey is just his love for the game. He hustles on and off the field and plays as hard as he can. I think that’s a quality that sometimes kind of gets overlooked, because we get so caught up in defining tools and stuff like that. And it’s kind of that X factor that doesn’t really come up in a scouting report, but I think it’s very important to bring up for him because that’s a huge part of the kind of player he is – he’s kind of a throwback in a sense. But he’s given us great defensive play. I think he’s improved greatly in just his knowledge and experience and anticipation of what’s going to happen and how to be in the right spot at the right time. His work habits are obviously good. I really have enjoyed watching him progress. I think playing with some of these older guys has been a huge advantage for him. As coaches, we kind of find ourselves limited at times. There’s so much we can do. We can give them the work, we can give them the information, but the criticism and encouragement that comes from his teammates go leaps and bounds above what we can do as coaches. I think he’s benefited greatly from some of the older players that he’s playing with – just in terms of how to best prepare himself and how to play the game as a professional player. I think that’s going to help him along the way as he continues, and I’m sure he’ll make the next step too.

jwWendle, Joey3AF:  I talked to A’s infield coach Mike Gallego about him in spring training. He raved about his preparation and how much he had his head into every play and he was really impressed with his whole approach. Now you were an infielder too, so do you concur with that assessment?

SS:  Definitely. And what we’ve tried to do this year with him is to take that attention to what’s going on, his first step and his movements and everything, and try to smooth everything out so it’s a little bit more fluid through the play. Early on, he was getting himself into trouble kind of being a little bit too forceful to the ball instead of really reading the ball and getting the hop that’s going to be best for him. As a second baseman, you don’t have to be as aggressive as on the other side. So I’ve seen a great improvement on that in terms of taking the game in a little bit more and not trying to force yourself down the game’s throat.

AF:  So letting things come to him as opposed to maybe trying a little too hard and trying to force things all the time.

SS:  Exactly! And he’s taken to it very well – he’s got a very nice rhythm about him right now.

AF:  Now what about at the plate? Obviously, he could be a little more selective. But what have you seen in terms of the evolution of his approach at the plate over the course of the year, and what does he need to be thinking about doing up there right now?

SS:  I think that’s the key. The key for him is to get good pitches to hit, because he can handle just about any pitcher he sees. He has just as much success against left-handers as he does against right-handers. He’s shown some power. He’s able to hit the ball to all fields. I think, at times, he just gets a little too aggressive. So that’s been the process with him, to try to smooth out his offense just liked we’re trying to do on the defensive side. We have him hitting in the two hole, so there’s some more things that can happen up there. He’s willing to bunt and he tries to hit the hole when he has that opportunity. So there are a lot of good things that we’re seeing, and we know that the mentality is there. It’s just a matter of more and more reps. I think we’re going to see where it’s going to start to click for him more and more as this season finishes up. And I’d like to see how he comes back next season after having an offseason to just kind of rethink everything, because in the heat of the season, you just grind and grind and grind. Sometimes that offseason of reflection can be very useful. I really do look forward to seeing how he plays out.

AF:  So it sounds like you think he knows what he needs to do and he’s headed in the right direction and it’s just a matter of executing.

SS:  By all means, yes.

AF:  A guy who was a big hitter for you last year at Sacramento is Nate Freiman, but he’s really been struggling this year. So what’s been going on with him and what’s been holding him back?

nfNate+Freiman+Oakland+Athletics+Photo+Day+CFUGtYuCl4Ll2bSS:  Well, Nate showed up in spring and hurt his back. He was down all spring, and he was left in Arizona. He ended up joining us almost six weeks after the season started. And then, at that point, we were using him kind of sparingly to keep him from a relapse.So it took him seven or eight weeks into our season before he was kind of starting to play every day. He didn’t have a spring training. He found himself not getting off to a start, and he’s been kind of pressing, trying to contribute. He feels like he’s letting the team down. He’s a very selfless guy – he’s a great teammate. For him not to hit the ball and drive people in, it’s been very frustrating for him, and we’ve had several talks. Of course, he went through the situation where they took him off the 40-man roster, and he was stressed about that. We’ve all had to go through that at some point. It’s been a learning year for him. If you think about it, he went from Double-A to the big leagues. And then last year, he kind of went up and down. So he hasn’t had a 400+ at-bat season since 2012 when he was in Double-A with the Padres. He’s just now kind of getting a chance to get some more regular playing time. He’s working on it, he’s trying a bunch of different things and it’s frustrating. It’s tough to pull yourself out of the hole, but he’s got a good attitude and he works hard and he plays hard.

AF:  Is the back still an issue at all? Are there any lingering physical issues with him?

SS:  No, he’s 100% percent. That’s all fine. He’s just trying to get on some kind of a roll at the plate and start feeling like Nate again.

AF:  I wanted to ask you about a couple of pitchers here. The most interesting story on your pitching staff this year has to be Barry Zito. So what have you seen out of Barry and what he’s been doing here?

bzZito, Barry3SS:  Well, on the field, he’s pitched phenomenally. The numbers speak for themselves. He’s going deep into games, he’s controlling the games and he’s doing very well now. I would have loved to have been around when he was at the top of his game. He’s not an imposing pitcher like he was in terms of his velocity – there’s onbviously been a drop-off. But the curveball and the changeup are still there. He makes hitters look silly still. He sets them up and puts them down. And it’s just that experience and knowledge of pitching and the ability to make a pitch when he needs it that really has been impressive. No, not every pitch has been right where he wants it, and you can see that there’s some struggle there, but he never lets that bother him to where he can’t go back and make the pitch he needs when he needs it. And off the field, in the clubhouse, he’s been outstanding. He’s been a great source for these other guys. They look up to him, and he takes it with a ceratin modesty and grace. It’s actually fun to have him on the club.

AF:  Well, there aren’t too many minor league clubhouses with Cy Young winners in them.

SS:  But you know what what? He doesn’t wear that on his sleeve. He’s very humble. And I’m enjoying the fact that I got the chance to spend the summer with him.

AF:  So where’s his velocity been at lately?

SS:  He’s mid-80s with the fastball. When you just look at the fastball, that’s not very hard. But when you play it off of that changeup, which is arguably Tom-Glavine-like at times, and then the breaking ball, which is purely Barry-Zito-like, the velocity of the fastball probably looks about 92 to some of these hitters when he uses it at the proper time. On the scouting side, you’d probably say it’s not quite there. But in terms of effectiveness, he knows how to pitch, he knows how to get people out.

AF:  Do you have any update on a guy who was pitching here for you before landing back on the disabled list, A.J. Griffin?

ag456167SS:  He’s back in Arizona. I’m not positive where he’s at. It’s just one of those situations where trying to compensate for one injury kind of created a little bit of another. So it was decided not to push this. Obviously, I can’t talk too much about the medical side of it. He just needs to get himself feeling right.

AF:  And was it basically right shoulder soreness?

SS:  Basically.

AF:  And what about Sean Nolin, who recently went back on the disabled list again?

SS:  Sean’s still here with us. He started for us for four or five starts and he started feeling some stuff, so we slowed him down. He’s currently on the DL trying to regain some strength and ability to really get after it. But he’s on the mend and we’ll probably look to see him start to get himself into a rehab situation over the next week or so. And then hopefully over the next couple weeks we should see him back active. I don’t know if we’ll use him as a starter or in the bullpen. We’d have to build him up as a starter again, and I don’t know if we have enough time left in the season to get him built up.

AF:  Well, I guess it’s a good sign that he’s still here with you guys rather than being down in Arizona.

SS:  Yeah, it was just some small stuff. After coming off all the stuff he’s had to battle through the last year, everybody agreed that it was best for him to stay on a little bit of a slower pace rather than trying to push him into something and make things worse.

AF:  Another guy you’ve got here with quite a bit of major league experience is Ryan Cook. He’s been struggling a bit lately. But where’s he at, what’s been going on with him and what does he need to figure out to get back to where he used to be?

rc5l64jcRW2SS:  He went up and down early. Obviously, he started the season here. And I know he was frustrated. I think it was kind of a shock to him. He handled it pretty well, but you could tell he was struggling with the situation and all. And he didn’t really get off to a great start. Then he got called up and you thought, “Okay, he’ll back in a groove and he’ll stay there.” Then they did so many quick moves so soon with all those relievers. Since he’s been here, his attitude has greatly improved. He’s all about trying to get himself back on track and get himself back to the big leagues, which is a good sign. He’s an emotional guy. He’s high-strung. We’ve all seen him in Oakland – he’s out there giving it everything he’s got. He’s a hard charger. He’s just been kind of getting knocked around a little bit, so he’s getting a little bit of humility. And that sometimes can be a good thing. So he’ll continue to pitch and he’ll continue to give it everything he’s got. And I think that, at some point or another, Oakland will need him again and he’ll go up and step right back into where he left off.

AF:  Is there anything in particular that he’s been working on here?

SS:  No, no, he’s pretty much the same pitcher. He’s just trying to get a little bit more consistent with his control, trying to pitch a little bit more ahead in the count. He’s finding himself kind of getting behind and having to come across the plate with a little bit more of a hitter’s pitch. Two years ago when he was dominating in the big leagues, he was getting ahead, he was using both sides of the plate. He had late movement that was giving him opportunities for missing the barrel. But now I think he’s just trying to aim a little too much and probably losing a little bit of that late movement, and it’s being knocked around a little bit more than he’s used to. You know, sometimes that just comes from the pressure and from trying to be too fine and trying to take that next step to prove that he’s able and ready to go back up. But his velocity’s there and the pitches are getting stronger. So he’s still a valuable part of this organization.

AF:  Great, thanks!

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Saturday, July 25th: Chad Pinder’s 4 Hits & 5 RBIs Help Hounds Win while Matt Chapman Hits 20th HR & Daniel Mengden Impresses in Ports Victory

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Chad Pinder (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Chad Pinder (4 for 5 / HR / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions    1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Overton 3-1 / 3.96

HR – Pinder (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Shortstop Chad Pinder

(4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

Shortstop Chad Pinder continued his hot hitting of late, collecting 4 hits, including his 10th home run and his 24th double, while driving in 5 runs for the RockHounds on Saturday. Pinder ran his hitting streak to 18 games, matching the longest in the Texas League this season, raised his team-leading batting average to .319 and took over the Texas League RBI lead with 60. Outfielder Chad Oberacker and first baseman Rangel Ravelo both had a pair of singles and a double, and designated hitter Renato Nunez had 2 hits and a walk and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Starter Dillon Overton was strong, allowing just 1 run over 5 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for Midland.

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