Tag Archive for Evan Scribner

Meet Your 2015 Oakland A’s!

A's GM Billy Beane: Rebuilding or retooling for another run?

A’s GM Billy Beane: Rebuilding or retooling for another run?

 

With the A’s heart-breaking 2014 campaign now over, the A’s faithful are left wondering, “What’s next?” But before we examine the possible answers to that question, let’s first take a look at who’s set to stay and who’s set to go…

 

A’s Eligible Free Agents:

Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Luke Gregerson, Jed Lowrie, Alberto Callaspo, Geovany Soto, Jonny Gomes, Adam Dunn

 

A’s Arbitration Eligible Players:

Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, John Jaso, Eric Sogard, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry, Kyle Blanks, Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Chavez, Ryan Cook, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodriguez, Jarrod Parker

 

A’s Pitchers under Team Control in 2015:

Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, Sean Doolittle, Fernando Abad, Eric O’Flaherty, Ryan Cook, Dan Otero, Evan Scribner, Fernando Rodriguez, A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Josh Lindblom

 

A’s Hitters under Team Control in 2015:

John Jaso, Stephen Vogt, Derek Norris, Eric Sogard, Nick Punto, Andy Parrino, Josh Donaldson, Nate Freiman, Kyle Blanks, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry

 

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Will Billy be wheelin’ and dealin’ this winter?

Assuming the A’s aren’t likely to re-sign any of the team’s potential free agents, the A’s available roster of players for the 2015 season doesn’t really look all that different from the roster of players the team started 2014 with. But with this season’s disappointment fresh in A’s fans’ hearts and minds, many have been calling for general manager Billy Beane and his staff to dismantle the current roster and begin the rebuild. If recent comments are any indication though, it looks like Beane and company aren’t ready for a rebuild quite yet and would rather retool for at least one more go-‘round with this current crop of A’s players. Beane was quoted in Bay Area media reports this week as saying that the A’s would be looking for a right-handed bat and that the shortstop position was also an area of concern for him. Those don’t exactly sound like the sentiments of a man looking to tear things down but rather of a man looking to build things back up.

When it comes to pitching, the A’s could actually be in a position to start off the 2015 season with a slightly stronger rotation than the team had in place at the start of 2014. Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz are all under team control and all performed well when given a shot in the rotation last year. The team began 2014 with Kazmir, Gray and Chavez in the rotation, along with Dan Straily and Tommy Milone. So Samardzija and Pomeranz would seem to represent something of an upgrade over Straily and Milone. Josh Lindblom should remain available at Triple-A, while A.J. Griffin could be ready to rejoin the rotation at some point during the season as he returns from Tommy John surgery. Jarrod Parker shouldn’t necessarily be counted on to rejoin the rotation though, since this is his second Tommy John surgery – only one player, Chris Capuano, has returned to a starting role after a second Tommy John surgery – but it’s possible that Parker could ultimately end up figuring into the A’s bullpen mix.

What will Doo do in 2015?

What will Doo do in 2015?

Sean Doolittle should return to the closer role, with Ryan Cook, Dan Otero, Fernando Abad and Eric O’Flaherty all coming back in supporting roles. With Luke Gregerson likely to depart via free agency and Jesse Chavez looking to return to the rotation, Evan Scribner and Fernando Rodriguez should have a good shot at stepping into their roles, and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the A’s pick up a couple of affordable arms with high upside (a la Fernando Abad) to add to the competition for the final bullpen spots. But other than that, there really isn’t that much work for the A’s front office to have to do on the pitching side of things this offseason.

When it comes to the team’s position players, while many names remain the same, there could be a couple of notable holes to try to fill. Catchers Derek Norris, Stephen Vogt and John Jaso are all under team control. While Vogt should be ready to get back behind the plate again after offseason foot surgery, Jaso’s catching days could be coming to an end and his days as a designated hitter may be about to begin. With Jed Lowrie set to test the free agent waters, the A’s middle infielder corps currently consists of Eric Sogard, Nick Punto and Andy Parrino, which clearly will not suffice. Brandon Moss should return to platoon at first base with Kyle Blanks if he’s healthy, or Nate Freiman if he’s not. And in the outfield, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry all remain under the A’s control for 2015.

So if the A’s front office is looking to retool for 2015, Beane’s comments this week about a right-handed bat and a shortstop being among the team’s areas of need make perfect sense. A productive right-handed hitting outfielder who could fill the role of the departed Yoenis Cespedes would be a big step towards getting the A’s offense back on track. Any number of players due to hit the free agent market or available on the trade market could fill that role. Finding a credible shortstop to take Lowrie’s place could be a little more challenging – especially since former shortstop-of-the-future Addison Russell was dealt away to the Cubs and new shortstop-of-the-future Daniel Robertson is just 20 and still likely a couple of years away – but it might not be quite as challenging as some might think.

Would Stew do a deal with the A's?

Would Stew do a deal with the A’s?

Though some of them will surely be beyond the A’s budget, shortstops such as Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Stephen Drew, Clint Barmes, Mike Aviles and Rafael Furcal are all expected to hit the free agent market this offseason. But there could also be some interesting opportunities to be found with one the A’s most frequent trade partners. The Arizona Diamondbacks, now run by former A’s and long-time Beane acquaintances Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa, currently control four credible shortstops, three of whom – Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and, yes, Cliff Pennington – all had better WARs this season than Jed Lowrie according to Baseball-Reference, while the fourth, Nick Ahmed, is a former 2nd-round draft pick who turned in a solid .312/.373/.425 slash line at Triple-A in 2014.

So while many disappointed A’s fans might be calling for a rebuild, the A’s front office looks like it may be planning on retooling for another run in 2015. With staff ace Jeff Samardzija now firmly atop the A’s starting rotation – and last year’s goat Jim Johnson nowhere to be found around the bullpen – if Beane and company can manage to come up with a credible shortstop to replace Lowrie and a solid right-handed bat to fill Cespedes’ role in the lineup, then the A’s could very well end up heading into the 2015 season with a slightly stronger roster than they had when they kicked off the 2014 campaign. The ball is now in Billy’s court – let the offseason wheeling and dealing begin!

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Wednesday, August 20th: Jonathan Joseph Tosses 5 Scoreless & Matt Olson Homers in Ports Victory while Matt Buschmann Earns 8th Win for River Cats

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jonathan Joseph (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jonathan Joseph (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports         4

Lake Elsinore Storm  0

WP – Joseph 6-3 / 3.99

HR – Olson (36)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jonathan Joseph

(5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Jonathan Joseph was impressive in a spot start for Stockton, allowing just 2 hits over 5 shutout innings to earn his 6th win on Wednesday. RHPs Andres Avila and Nolan Sanburn both tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Sanburn picking up his 6th save for Stockton. First baseman Matt Olson hit his league-leading 36th home run, a 2-run shot, while outfielder Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in a run, and shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, doubled, walked and stole a pair of bases for the Ports.

Click here for more on Sacramento, Midland, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

A’s Minor League Leaders – August 2014 Update

With just a couple of weeks left in the minor league season, we thought we’d take a quick look at the A’s minor league leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. A minimum of 200 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 100 innings is required for the pitching categories, with the exception of saves, of course. Included are current players from Sacramento, Midland, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont and the Arizona League A’s, but not from the Dominican Summer League A’s, and the stats below are complete through Sunday. Some of the names you might expect to see atop the lists, while others may come as a bit of a surprise!

 

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J.P. Sportman

BATTING AVERAGE

1) J.P. Sportman .346

2) Herschel Powell .344

3) Shane Peterson .316

It’s interesting to note that the A’s 27th-round draft pick this year out of Central Connecticut State, J.P. Sportman, currently boasts the best batting average among all A’s minor leaguers. And the 22-year-old center fielder has been hitting even better for Vermont than he was for Arizona, batting .367 for the Lake Monsters. #2 on the list is Stockton outfielder Herschel “Boog” Powell, who’s currently serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Meanwhile, Sacramento outfielder Shane Peterson has been the River Cats most consistent hitter all season, and he also leads all A’s minor leaguers in doubles with 35.

 

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Herschel Powell

ON-BASE PERCENTAGE

1) Herschel Powell .453

2) J.P. Sportman .402

3 tie) Matt Olson .401

3 tie) Daniel Robertson .401

Stockton center fielder Herschel Powell did an incredible job of getting on base in April, May, June and the first week of July before being served with a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Powell did most of his damage while leading off for Beloit but continued getting on base at a similar rate in almost two weeks at Stockton before receiving his suspension. Powell should be eligible to rejoin Stockton for the last few games of the season as well as for the California League playoffs. Vermont outfielder J.P. Sportman boasts the second-best on-base percentage despite drawing just 19 walks. Stockton first baseman Matt Olson’s is tied for the third-best OBP despite batting just .254 thanks to the fact that he leads all A’s minor leaguers in walks with 108. Meanwhile, Stockton shortstop Daniel Robertson’s .308 batting average has helped to keep him on base all season for the Ports.

 

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Renato Nunez

SLUGGING PERCENTAGE

1) Renato Nunez .552

2) Matt Olson .543

3) Jaycob Brugman .519

When it comes to slugging, you need not look any further than Stockton. Ports third baseman Renato Nunez currently sports the best slugging percentage among all A’s minor leaguers. Nunez’s 59 extra-base hits in 111 games mean that he’s been averaging more than 1 extra-base hit in every 2 games for the Ports. The 20-year-old Venezuelan also leads all A’s’ minor leaguers in RBIs with 91. Matt Olson’s 35 home runs also help to put him high on the slugging list. Meanwhile, Stockton outfielder Jaycob Brugman might be the most surprising addition to the top sluggers’ list, but the 22-year-old has now hit 9 home runs in his last 10 games for the Ports.

 

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Matt Olson

HOME RUNS

1) Matt Olson 35

2) Renato Nunez 29

3) Jaycob Brugman 19

Not only are Matt Olson and Renato Nunez #1 and #2 in home runs in the A’s minor league system, but they’re also #1 and #2 in the California League home run race. The California League may have the reputation of being a hitters’ league, but these two Ports infielders have been the most prolific home run hitters in the league so far this season. Stockton outfielder Jaycob Brugman has recently climbed his way up the home run list by hitting 9 homers in his last 10 games for the Ports. Brugman has definitely warmed up to the California League. After hitting 8 home runs in 70 games for Beloit, Brugman’s hit 11 home runs in just 37 games for Stockton.

 

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Daniel Robertson

HITS

1) Daniel Robertson 155

2) Shane Peterson 154

3) Ryon Healy 142

Stockton shortstop Daniel Robertson has been playing every day and batting leadoff much of the time, giving him the opportunity to rack up a whopping 155 hits in 121 games while posting a .308 batting average for the Ports. Sacramento outfielder Shane Peterson has been healthy all season and playing every day for the River Cats, so he’s collected 154 hits while while batting .316. #3 on the hits list may be a bit of a surprise. First baseman/third baseman Ryon Healy started off the season in a terrible slump for Stockton but hung in there and has now cranked out 142 hits while playing every day and putting up a .281 batting average for the Ports.

 

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Nate Long

ERA

1) Nate Long 3.12

2) Seth Streich 3.16

3) Chris Lamb 3.21

RockHounds starter Nate Long started out the season as a middle reliever for Midland until injuries to Raul Alcantara and Tanner Peters forced him into the RockHounds’ rotation, where he’s blossomed. The 28-year-old currently boasts the best ERA among all A’s minor league starters and is second in the system in both wins and strikeouts. Meanwhile, Stockton’s Seth Streich has been the most impressive starting pitcher in the A’s minor league system this season, ranking among the ERA, WHIP and strikeout leaders, but a shoulder injury has sidelined him for the past three weeks. Stockton starter Chris Lamb may be the most surprising entry on the list. The 24-year-old posted a 4.53 ERA last season for Beloit, but he started out well this season for the Snappers and has flourished since his promotion to the hitter-friendly California League – go figure!

 

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Seth Streich

WHIP

1) Seth Streich 1.16

2) Zach Neal 1.16

3) Kyle Finnegan 1.24

Before being sidelined with a shoulder injury, Stockton starter Seth Streich had been demonstrating great command, which really helped him do a terrific job of keeping men off base this season. The 23-year-old walked just 22 batters in 114 innings. He also managed to surrender just 7 home runs in the homer-happy California League. River Cats starter Zach Neal, who’s done stints with Sacramento, Midland and Stockton this season, is right behind Streich on the WHIP list and has walked a miniscule 19 batters in 145 1/3 innings this season. Meanwhile, Beloit starter Kyle Finnegan has done a great job of keeping runners off base by allowing just 88 hits over 108 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers.

 

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Matt Buschmann

STRIKEOUTS

1) Matt Buschmann 119

2) Nate Long 117

3) Seth Streich 116

Stockton starter Seth Streich far out-paced all other A’s minor league pitchers in strikeouts for most of the season, until he was sidelined by a shoulder injury. With Streich out of action, Sacramento starter Matt Buschmann, who was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, has moved to the top of the list by striking out 119 batters in just 121 2/3 innings. Midland starter Nate Long is second on the strikeout list with 117 in 138 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, River Cats starter Arnold Leon should soon pass Streich for third on the list as he currently stands at 112 strikeouts for Sacramento.

 

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Chris Jensen

WINS

1) Chris Jensen 12

2) Nate Long 11

3) Arnold Leon 10

Midland starter Chris Jensen, acquired from Colorado in the Brett Anderson trade, currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in wins with 12. Jensen also sports a 3.32 ERA and has given up just 3 home runs in 146 1/3 innings of work this season. Fellow Midland starter Nate Long is second on the wins list with 11, while Sacramento starter Arnold Leon is third with 10. Leon also boasts strong strikeout numbers, but he’s allowed 155 hits in just 128 innings of work, leading to a 5.27 ERA for the season.

 

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Austin House

SAVES

1) Austin House 17

2) Seth Frankoff 16

3) Evan Scribner 15

Stockton closer Austin House leads all A’s minor leaguers in saves with 17. House has also struck out 70 batters in just 48 1/3 innings of work so far this season. Sacramento reliever Seth Frankoff is second on the saves list, with all but one of his 16 saves coming during his time with Midland. The 25-year-old Frankoff has struck out 63 in 58 innings of relief for both Midland and Sacramento this season. #3 on the saves list is a familiar name to A’s fans, the River Cats’ Evan Scribner. When not with the A’s, Scribner’s been sharing Sacramento’s closing duties with Jeremy McBryde, who’s right behind him on the saves list with 14. Scribner’s been showing great command this season, walking just 9 while striking out 68 over 44 innings of work for Sacramento.

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Friday, August 15th: Chris Jensen Allows Just 2 Hits in Hounds Win while Drew Pomeranz Wins 3rd Straight Start for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  3

Springfield Cardinals       2

WP – Jensen 12-7 / 3.32

HR – Coleman (14)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Chris Jensen

(7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

Starter Chris Jensen allowed just 1 unearned run on 2 hits while striking out 5 over 7 innings of work to earn the win for the RockHounds on Friday. Jensen, who was acquired from the Rockies in the Brett Anderson trade, now leads all A’s minor leaguers in wins with 12. LHP Frank Gailey gave up 1 run in just 1/3 of an inning of relief, while RHP Jose Flores got the final five outs to notch his 9th save. Midland managed just 4 hits on the night. Shortstop Dusty Coleman singled and hit a 2-run homer in the 2nd to give the Hounds the lead, while outfielder Kenny Wilson doubled, and second baseman Conner Crumbliss singled in the win.

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

Thursday, July 24th: Tommy Milone Earns 1st Win for Sacramento while Daric Barton Drives in 3 and Evan Scribner Gets Recalled by A’s

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Tommy Milone (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Tommy Milone (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  13

El Paso Chihuahuas            2

WP – Milone 1-0 / 5.40

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Tommy Milone

(6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

After enduring a rough outing his last time out, former A’s LHP Tommy Milone looked strong on Thursday, allowing 2 runs while striking out 8 over 6 innings of work to earn his 1st win for Sacramento. RHP Paul Smyth pitched 1 perfect inning in relief, while RHP Tucker Healy tossed 2 scoreless innings for the River Cats. Center fielder Nick Buss singled, doubled, tripled and drove in 4 runs, while left fielder Shane Peterson had 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair, and designated hitter Daric Barton drove in 3 runs for Sacramento. Meanwhile, the River Cats lost one of the team’s best relievers when RHP Evan Scribner was recalled by the A’s after the release of RHP Jim Johnson.

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

Exclusive: Get the Inside Scoop on Sacramento’s Top Players from River Cats Manager Steve Scarsone and Pitching Coach Rick Rodriguez

After spending two seasons mentoring A’s minor leaguers as the manager at Midland, Steve Scarsone is now midway through his second season as the skipper in Sacramento. Meanwhile, Rick Rodriguez is the long-time River Cats pitching coach, though he also served a brief stint as the A’s bullpen coach, and he’s had a hand in developing many of the A’s most talented young pitchers. We spoke with both of them last week in Sacramento, just a day before one of the River Cats’ top players, shortstop Andy Parrino (who was the first player we’d asked the skipper about), was recalled by the A’s…

 

STEVE SCARSONE

ssscarsone_steve_river_cats_n-304bAF:  I wanted to start off by asking you about a couple of guys who’ve been real staples for you here this year in Sacramento. First off, Andy Parrino. What is it that you like about him, what does he bring to your team and what can you see him bringing to a major league team as well?

SS:  Well, right off the bat, we’re talking about a guy who plays solid defense. He’s a top caliber shortstop, and I believe he can help any major league team defensively. He’s also shown that he can have some flexibility at second base and third base, and I know that last spring we used him in the outfield a little bit as Bob Melvin was trying to get an idea of how he could fit in with that club up there. What Andy does here is give us great stability in the infield. I think the pitchers are better when he’s back there. And I think the rest of the fielders rise a little bit to try to stay at his level because of his knowledge of the game, his preparation and the way he anticipates what’s going to happen. As a former infielder myself, he’s just a joy to watch, to talk with and strategize with, and he will apply what we want to do. That I think is his biggest asset to this club or to a major league club. Now this year, he’s swinging the bat much better than last year. Last year, he had a little off year. So this year, he’s back on track with that. He’s currently leading our club in home runs, which isn’t a lot, but someone’s got to do it! And he’s just a guy who works hard every day, goes out and plays hard every night and really cares about his performance, the team’s performance and winning – and that’s a great combination.

AF:  The other guy who’s been a real lock for you in the lineup every day this year is Shane Peterson. What does he bring to your team and what skill set could he have to offer in the majors at some point?

SS:  Well, just like Andy, Shane spends a lot of time preparing himself for the game defensively and offensively. He’s shown that he’s able to play all three outfield positions. He’s done most of his time in center field this year, mostly because of the other personnel we’ve had on the club, but it’s given him an opportunity to showcase himself as a center fielder. He’s kind of been trying to beef up his stolen bases to show that he can steal some bags, so he’s brought that to our club. I think he’s been a much smarter hitter than in the past years that we’ve been together in terms of his planning and staying with his plan. And he’s just a very likeable guy. The club follows him naturally and he goes out there and plays hard every night, just like Andy. The two of those guys are really examples of why we’ve had success this year. It’s guys like Andy and Shane and their approach to every game and that never-quit mentality that’s pushed us over the top in so many close games.

AF:  A couple of new guys here I wanted to get your impression of. Josh Whitaker came up not too long after he was pretty seriously beaned in the head at Midland, which was a little scary. Now that he’s up here with you, what have you seen out of him and what are your impressions so far of Josh Whitaker?

jw53436225e2696.preview-300bSS:  I’ve gotten a chance to see Josh a little bit through the years…I was initially concerned that he was pushed up here a little quick after coming off the concussion stuff. But be that as it may, it looks like he’s taken a little bit of time to get himself acclimated. I know he’s just trying to get himself going again after the injury, and then at a higher level. So I’ve taken that into account when I’m making my evaluations or observations. What I’ve seen over the last two series is a guy who’s starting to feel a little bit more comfortable at the plate. He’s starting to become more aggressive. For a bigger guy, he plays a very good outfield. He’s made a couple of really nice catches, and his arm has proven to be something that people are going to have to take note of. He’s had a couple of outfield assists already, and he’s not afraid to let it loose. So, I think we’ve got something here.

AF:  Now what about one of your newest additions, who was claimed off waivers from Toronto, outfielder Kenny Wilson? A lot of people don’t really know that much about him, so tell me what you can about Kenny Wilson at this point.

SS:  He’s a guy who’s kind of been bouncing around a bit, A-Ball, Double-A. He spent a couple years as a switch-hitter. I think if you go back and look at his numbers a few years ago, you’re going to think he wasn’t doing much. But he was attempting to switch hit. He’s since abandoned that and he’s just a right-handed hitter now. He’s got some speed, he’s going to steal some bases, which I know will fit in well here, as well as up above. It’s going to be fun to see how he develops.

AF:  Another guy I want to ask you about is Tommy Milone. For you, as the manager here, what’s your approach when someone who’s clearly major league talent ends up on your roster here?

tm140238643_display_imageSS:  I’ve gotten to know Tommy over the last couple of years, so there’s already a familiarity there and a mutual respect I would hope. So when you have a guy like Tommy coming down and he’s done everything that they’ve asked him to do in Oakland and yet here he is, it is a little different situation. I think all of us who’ve been in the game for any number of years, you’re going to be asked to do things that maybe don’t make sense in your head but it’s for a bigger cause. I think Tommy’s pretty grounded as an individual and he understands some of the business end of it. I’m sure he wasn’t happy, and I’m not going to be the one to make it worse for him. So it’s an open-arms type of situation. It’s how can we help you transition. And you kind of give a guy like that a little bit more leeway.

AF:  I know you’re in touch with the minor league operations staff all the time, but how much communication do you have with the major league staff about the players here?

SS:  It’s not a daily thing. It’s more as situations present themselves. Most of my communication on that end is from [A’s assistant general manager] David Forst bringing down ideas or suggestions on where he would like things to go. We try to facilitate what they want done here. But I don’t expect Bob Melvin to be calling to see how things are going or if I’m doing okay. I’d be worried if he did. He’s got his hands full…We make nightly reports, so most of the information is there. And every once in a while, there might be a question. Like maybe I’ll get a call about Tommy and how he’s doing transitioning, and I’ll try to be as honest as possible.

AF:  Well, you’ve got another winning team here this year in Sacramento. But not only is it a winning team, but you seem to be having an awful lot of big, dramatic wins – a lot of walk-off wins. So how much fun has it been for you to manage this team this year?

SS:  First of all, it’s been a great time. It’s a great bunch. We’ve had some fun games. We’ve had some late-inning heroics and stuff. Those are always exciting and help fuel the grind of a season. But I’ve also been doing this for a while, so I’m not hanging on every single win or loss. I’m looking at the bigger picture – we’ve got to keep moving them forward, keep moving them forward. They’re a great bunch because they work hard and they really do kind of just go with the flow and there’s no sense of panic – and it’s evident in as many late-inning wins that we’ve had. If we fall behind, we don’t panic. And I think that’s a huge thing. When you think about a minor league game and a major league game, what’s the difference? The difference in a major league game is that you have to win. Winning that game is the only thing that they’re concerned with. Down here, we do strive to win, but we’re not going to jeopardize a player for a win…But you get in the tight games late, now the heat’s up. It simulates more of what an everyday major league game is going to be like. So the more games that we have that are tight like that, the better-suited these guys are going to be when they get into a big league game. So the more we can create a game intensity here, I think it’ll be a greater benefit to these guys moving up…That’s kind of what’s happening in our whole organization. I mean, you see them up there and they’re not phased by the pressure – and we’re trying to be the same way.

 

RICK RODRIGUEZ

rrrick_rodriguez_2011_05_24bAF:  Having an experienced guy like Tommy Milone back here in Sacramento, for you as a pitching coach, what’s your role with him like at this point?

RR:  Well, just to kind of find out exactly what he’s done in Oakland. I know from talking to Curt Young, our big league pitching coach, that they had done some things. So I want to get on the same page and kind of find out exactly from him what they’ve been doing and just try to continue it, because he has been throwing the ball very, very well. So that’s kind of what I have planned for him.

AF:  So basically just trying to continue through with the program that he’s been on.

RR:  Yeah, he knows how to pitch. He knows what he’s doing. It’s just kind of looking for things that he wants me to look for in his delivery.

AF:  Now a guy here who got a long look in spring training and looked really good down there in Arizona is Arnold Leon. The other night, he struck out 13 guys over 6 innings but gave up a couple of home runs, which did him in. But tell me where Arnold Leon’s at, what you like about him and what he needs to work on.

RR:  Lately, Arnold’s been doing a really good job of using his fastball more. I think that’s what he needed to do. He’s been more aggressive moving it in and out of the zone. His curveball was kind of a little bit loopy in the beginning of the year. He changed his grip and got a little bit tighter, so I think that’s helped him. His command’s always been pretty decent. His changeup was okay in the beginning, but it’s getting better now – it has a little bit later sink. So everything I think is starting to hit now and come together for him.

al628x471eAF:  Would you say that sometimes Mexican League pitchers try to be a little too fine and aren’t always as aggressive with their fastball as they ought to be?

RR:  When he got here last year, his fastball was very good, but his curveball was a little bit sharper. So I think he started to use his curveball a little bit more early and got away from using the fastball. So we were talking and we just decided he needed to use his fastball. He has a very good fastball with very good velocity and very good movement on it – use it, get ahead with it. And use that breaking ball a little bit later in the count instead of maybe over-exposing it too early in the game.

AF:  So it sounds like being aggressive with the fastball is really the key to his success at this point. Now I wanted to ask you about a new guy here who you probably haven’t had the chance to see whole lot of yet, and that’s Tucker Healy. He’s put up amazing strikeout numbers in the A’s system pitching out of the bullpen. He got into a couple of rough games here to start. But what have you been able to see out of him so far here?

RR:  I’m really just starting to get to know him and assess his strengths and what he needs to work on. From what I’ve seen, it looks like he has a good aggressive fastball and a nice little breaking ball. He’s not afraid to go after hitters. But it’s just more observation right now and just kind of seeing what he does and not give him too much instruction.

AF:  Is there anyone on the staff who you feel has made a big improvement or come a long way over the first half of the year?

jlJosh+Lindblom+Oakland+Athletics+Photo+Day+GzH80HnKvQXl2RR:  Well, Josh Lindblom. He didn’t have the best start in the world. And lately, his starts have been a lot more consistent in terms of having quality pitches and quality location. Unfortunately, he was just starting to get in that groove and he got hit in the ankle, so now he’s out for however many weeks. He was a guy who was really coming along. And hopefully, maybe it’s not as bad and he can come back and still pitch towards the end of the year with a few weeks left and then see what happens.

AF:  What’s the status of his ankle at this point?

RR:  I think he’s just going to go in a boot right now and just kind of rest it for a couple three weeks and then maybe just get another X-ray and see where it is…but it’s unfortunate that had to happen because he was making some good progress.

AF:  Is there anyone else you’ve seen make some real progress this year?

RR:  Well, Paul Smyth. He’s had quality outings against both left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters. He’s spotting his fastball. He doesn’t have that 95 mph fastball, but he’s in that 89-91 mph range with tremendous movement. He’s got a great slider. I think when he got here last year, left-handed hitters were hitting him a little bit better. But he’s made a great improvement on getting left-handed hitters out. He’s throwing strikes. He’s not afraid to come in in any situation. He’s very versatile – he’s pitched in the beginning of the game, he’s pitched late in the game. If you call down there, he’s ready to go. But he’s made tremendous improvement.

AF:  You’ve had a few experienced guys in your bullpen this year. Can you tell me a little bit about the guys you’ve been counting on down there this year?

RR:  Yeah, like Evan Scribner. He’s been very professional. He’s a very good pitcher. He’s been around. I had him when I was up in Oakland in the bullpen. He was very good up there. Fernando Rodriguez has been throwing the ball well. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery. His velocity is up there now. His curveball is very sharp. I think the more times he gets out there, obviously the better off he’s going to be. So he just needs to pitch. Those two guys have been the mainstays of our bullpen. Jeremy McBryde has come a long way. Starting the year off, we really didn’t know where he was going to pitch. He kind of did a little bit of long relief, in the middle, some other stuff. And lately, he’s kind of been in a closing role with Scribner. And he’s excelled, he’s done very well, especially against right-handed hitters, and even against left-handed hitters. But he’s a guy who definitely can close a game just as well as Scribner can, or even Fernando coming in too. And then you’ve got Joe Savery from the left side, who has a very good fastball and breaking ball. Since he’s our only lefty, we’re trying to put him in situations where he can be used like he would be used in Oakland. And he’s been throwing the ball well. All in all, it’s been a good year. And I think guys are now starting to hit their stride, so that’s a good thing!

 

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Thursday, July 17th: Shane Peterson’s 3 HRs Help River Cats Win Drew Pomeranz’s Second Start for Sacramento while Olson & Nunez HRs in 9th Aren’t Enough for Ports

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Outfielder Shane Peterson (3 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Outfielder Shane Peterson (3 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  10

Albuquerque Isotopes          9

WP – Scribner 4-1 / 3.19

HR – Peterson 3 (8)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Shane Peterson

(3 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

Triple-A All-Star outfielder Shane Peterson had a big night for the River Cats, slugging 3 home runs to help the Cats come out the winners in a 10-inning contest on Thursday. His first home run put Sacramento on the board in the 3rd, his second brought the River Cats within 2 runs in the 5th and his third gave his team a 3-run lead in the 6th. Second baseman Jose Martinez collected 4 hits, including a double, and drove in the winning run in the 10th, while outfielder Nick Buss had a double and a pair of singles and also drove in a run. First baseman Daric Barton singled, tripled, walked and scored the winning run, and third baseman Alden Carrithers and designated hitter Anthony Aliotti had a pair of hits apiece and both drove in a run for the River Cats. Starter Drew Pomeranz had a rough outing, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits, including a pair of home runs, over 4 innings of work, while RHP Evan Scribner picked up the win despite giving up the tying run in the 9th, and RHP Jeremy McBryde tossed a scoreless 10th to notch his 9th save.

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Friday, July 11th: Jefry Marte Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off while Jake Elmore’s Decisive Double Keys Cats Victory and Dillon Overton Impresses Again in Arizona

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Jefry Marte (2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Jefry Marte (2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions     2

Midland RockHounds  3

WP – Flores 1-1 / 3.60

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Jefry Marte

(2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

After delivering the game-winning RBI to give the RockHounds the walk-off win on Thursday, third baseman Jefry Marte did again, singling in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th to give the Hounds their second straight walk-off win on Friday. Marte also singled in Midland’s first run of the game in the 1st inning. Starter Nate Long allowed just 1 run over 6 1/3 innings of work, while RHP Jose Flores tossed a scoreless 10th to pick up his 1st win for the RockHounds.

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Monday, July 7th: Renato Nunez Hits Pair of HRs to Help Stockton Win while Ports’ Powell Gets Suspension

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   7

San Jose Giants   0

WP – Castillo 1-2 / 9.00

HR – Nunez 2 (20)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Renato Nunez

(2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

Third Baseman Renato Nunez pretty much took care of things single-handedly for Stockton on Monday night. The 20-year-old hit a 2-run homer to put the Ports on the board in the top of the 1st and then followed that up by slugging a grand slam in the 7th. Outfielder Aaron Shipman doubled, while designated hitter Matt Olson walked 3 times and scored twice, and outfielder Jaycob Brugman went 1 for 4 and scored a run in his Stockton debut. Starter Yeiper Castillo turned in his first solid outing for the Ports, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Brugman joined the Stockton outfield from Beloit after Billy McKinney was traded and Herschel “Boog” Powell was suspended. Powell was banned for 50 games after testing positive for a banned amphetamine. RHP Tim Atherton returned to the Ports after making an emergency start for Sacramento this weekend, and RHP Rodolfo Fernandez was assigned to Stockton after being acquired from the Brewers on Monday.

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Friday, July 4th: A’s Trade Addison Russell, Billy McKinney & Dan Straily to Cubs for Jeff Samardzija & Jason Hammel while Robertson, Olson & Nunez All Homer in Ports Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Shortstop Daniel Robertson (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 6 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Shortstop Daniel Robertson (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 6 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  17

San Jose Giants    6

WP – Sanchez 2-0 / 2.70

HR – Olson (24), Nunez (18), Robertson (12)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Shortstop Daniel Robertson

(3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 6 RBIs)

On a night that saw two of the A’s top prospects, shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney, traded to the Cubs, three of the team’s other big prospects had big nights for the Ports. Daniel Robertson, who is now the A’s top shortstop prospect, singled, doubled, homered and drove in 6 runs, while first baseman Matt Olson doubled, homered and drove in 4, and third baseman Renato Nunez singled, homered and drove in a pair. Catcher Ryan Gorton and outfielder Bobby Crocker collected 3 hits apiece. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed 6 runs, 4 earned, over 7 innings to pick up his 2nd win, while RHP Michael Ynoa tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief for the Ports. Meanwhile, second baseman Chad Pinder was placed on the Ports disabled list and, with McKinney’s departure, Herschel “Boog” Powell should now expect to see most of the playing time in center field for Stockton.

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