Tag: Kenny Wilson

A’s 2017 Non-Roster Invitees

The A’s announced their list of non-roster invitees to major league spring training camp on Thursday. A number of them are recently-signed minor league free agents, but many spent last season with the organization as well.

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

–New Position Players–

rl543432C Ryan Lavarnway

Signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 21 after playing in the Atlanta and Toronto farm systems in 2016. He combined to hit .266 with six home runs and 48 RBI in 91 games with Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A New Hampshire.

3B-2B Jermaine Curtis

Signed as a minor league free agent after hitting .291 with nine home runs and 50 RBI in 89 games with Triple-A Louisville in the Reds organization. He added 42 walks for a .404 on-base percentage.

OF-1B Chris Parmelee

Went 4-for-8 with two home runs and four RBI in six games with New York (AL) last year and is a .248 career hitter with 30 home runs and 98 RBI in 311 games over six seasons in the majors. He spent most of 2016 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he hit .248 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 64 games. He signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 19.

OF Jaff Decker

Hit .154 in 19 games with Tampa Bay last year and is a .162 career hitter in 60 games over four seasons in the majors. He also batted .255 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI in 99 games with Triple-A Durham. He signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 22.

OF Kenny Wilson

Signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 15. He combined to hit .255 with three home runs, 32 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 125 games with Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans in the Miami organization.

UPDATE:

OF Alejandro De Aza

Free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza signed a minor league contract, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville, and was added to the list of non-roster invitees to the A’s major league spring training camp. He spent the entire 2016 season with the New York Mets and hit .205 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 130 games.  He is a .261 career hitter in 810 games in nine Major League seasons with Florida (2007, 09), Chicago-AL (2010-14), Baltimore (2014-15), Boston (2015), San Francisco (2015) and New York-NL (2016).

 

–Returning Position Players–

mm473724bC-OF Matt McBride

Hit .209 with two RBI in 20 games with Oakland last year. He also batted .267 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 70 games with Nashville.

C Sean Murphy

Was the A’s third round selection in the 2016 draft and batted .228 with two home runs and seven RBI in 23 games in his professional debut with short-season Vermont and the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League.

2B-SS Josh Rodriguez

Returns for his second straight camp with the A’s as a non-roster invitee. He played for Midland and Nashville in 2016 and hit .263 with nine home runs and 53 RBI in 88 games.

3B Matt Chapman

The A’s first round pick in the 2014 draft returns for his second straight big league camp. He combined to hit .237 with 36 home runs and 96 RBI in 135 games with Double-A Midland and Nashville. He ranked third in all of minor league baseball in home runs and tied for 10th in RBI.

SS Richie Martin

The A’s first round pick in the 2015 draft returns for his second consecutive big league camp. He combined for a .235 average, three home runs, 38 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 91 games with Stockton and Midland.

2B Max Schrock

Was acquired from Washington for Marc Rzepczynski Aug. 25. He led all of minor league baseball with 177 hits after batting .331 with 32 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 71 RBI in 129 games with Stockton, Midland, Single-A Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown.

OF Andrew Lambo

Appeared in one game with Oakland and also hit .255 with four home runs and 30 RBI in 56 games with Nashville before missing the last half of the season following a diagnosis of testicular cancer.

UPDATES:

1B Rangel Ravelo

First baseman Rangel Ravelo cleared waivers, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville, and was added to the list of non-roster invitees to the A’s major league spring training camp. He spent the entire 2016 season at Nashville, where he batted .262 with eight home runs and 54 RBI in 106 games.

1B-3B Max Muncy

Infielder Max Muncy cleared waivers, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville, and was added to the list of non-roster invitees to the A’s major league spring training camp. He appeared in 51 games for Oakland and 64 games at Nashville in 2016.

 

–New Pitchers–

mb572728RHP Michael Brady

Signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 15. He combined for a 3-6 record and a 2.89 ERA in 18 games (12 starts) with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in the Washington organization in 2016.

RHP Cesar Valdez

Signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 17 after going 12-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 30 games (18 starts) with Triple-A Fresno in the Houston organization. He ranked third in the Pacific Coast League in ERA and tied for fourth in wins. He walked 13 and struck out 114 in 138 1/3 innings.

RHP Josh Smith

Was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati Nov. 4 and outrighted to Nashville Nov. 18. He went 3-3 with a 4.68 ERA in 32 games (two starts) with the Reds. He was also 4-4 with a 3.80 ERA in nine games (eight starts) with Triple-A Louisville.

RHP Tyler Sturdevant

Signed as a minor league free agent Nov. 11. He went 0-1 with a 3.93 ERA in 16 relief appearances in his major league debut with Tampa Bay last year. He was also 3-2 with four saves and a 3.66 ERA in 34 games with Durham.

RHP Simon Castro

Signed as a minor league free agent after going 0-5 with 10 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 50 relief appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Colorado farm system.

 

–Returning Pitchers–

fd467094LHP Felix Doubront

Missed the entire 2016 season after undergoing UCL reconstruction surgery April 12.

RHP Chris Smith

Was a non-roster invitee with the A’s last year. He went 6-8 with a 3.93 ERA in 22 starts at Nashville before joining Oakland Aug. 7. He had no decisions, a 2.92 ERA and .165 opponents batting average in 13 relief appearances with the A’s.

RHP Daniel Gossett

The A’s second round pick in the 2014 draft pitched for Stockton, Midland and Nashville in 2016 and combined for a 10-6 record and a 2.69 ERA in 27 appearances, all starts. He led the A’s farm system with 151 strikeouts.

RHP Heath Fillmyer

Oakland’s fifth round pick in the 2014 draft combined for a 7-6 record and a 3.29 ERA in 26 games, including 24 starts, with Single-A Stockton and Midland.

RHP Tucker Healy

A 23rd round selection in the 2012 draft, he spent the entire 2016 season at Nashville where he went 4-3 with eight saves, a 3.61 ERA and .202 opponents batting average in 44 relief appearances. He struck out 76 in 52 1/3 innings.

RHP Ryan Brasier (sold to Hiroshima Carp)

Second straight season as a non-roster invitee with the A’s. He was 5-3 with a save, a 3.56 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings over 46 relief appearances with Triple-A Nashville. (UPDATE: Ryan Brasier has been sold by the A’s to the Hiroshima Carp of the Japanese Central League.)

RHP Aaron Kurcz

Combined for a 9-1 record, five saves, a 3.03 ERA and .211 opponents batting average in 46 appearances with Midland and Nashville. He was acquired by the A’s from Atlanta for international bonus slot 4 on July 6, 2015.

RHP Trey Cochran-Gill

Was acquired from Seattle for Evan Scribner following the 2015 season and went 4-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 42 relief appearances with Midland in 2016. He added a 1.84 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.

LHP A.J. Puk

Was the A’s first round choice in the 2016 draft and went 0-4 with a 3.03 ERA and .185 opponents batting average in 10 starts with Vermont in his professional debut. He struck out 40 in 32 2/3 innings.

UPDATE:

LHP Ross Detwiler

Left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler signed a minor league contract, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville, and was added to the list of non-roster invitees to the A’s major league spring training camp. He was acquired by the A’s from Cleveland in a minor league deal July 17 and combined for a 2-4 record and a 6.10 ERA in 16 major league games, including seven starts.  He was also 6-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, with Triple-A Columbus and Nashville. Detwiler appeared in 9 games for Oakland and 4 games at Nashville in 2016.

RHP Zach Neal

Pitcher Zach Neal cleared waivers, was assigned to Triple-A Nashville, and was added to the list of non-roster invitees to the A’s major league spring training camp. He made his Major League debut with Oakland last year and went 2-4 with two saves and a 4.24 ERA in 24 games, including six starts, over four stints with the A’s.  He allowed a .265 opponents batting average but issued just six walks in 70.0 innings for a .281 on-base percentage.  Neal was also 7-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Nashville where he walked just eight batters in 61.2 innings.

(Information provided by A’s Media Relations)

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A’s In The AFL – Nov. 3-8 Update

A’s AFL Farmhand Of The Week: RHP Ryan Doolittle

A’s AFL Farmhand Of The Week: RHP Ryan Doolittle

 

A’s Prospect AFL Highlights

(November 3 – 8)

Monday, November 3rd:

Shortstop Daniel Robertson went 1 for 4, while RHP Ryan Doolittle struck out 1 in 1 scoreless inning of relief in Mesa’s 1-0 loss on Monday.

Tuesday, November 4th:

Shortstop Daniel Robertson went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run, while center fielder Boog Powell went 0 for 3 with a walk in Mesa’s 3-1 win on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 5th:

RHP Drew Granier tossed 2 scoreless innings, while RHP Austin House pitched 1 perfect inning of relief in Mesa’s 11-2 win on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 6th:

Left fielder Boog Powell went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, while shortstop Daniel Robertson went 0 for 3 with an RBI, and RHP Ryan Doolittle allowed 1 run and struck out 2 in 2 innings of relief in Mesa’s 4-2 10-inning win on Thursday.

Friday, November 7th:

Shortstop Daniel Robertson went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run, while left fielder Boog Powell went 2 for 5 in Mesa’s 5-2 loss on Friday.

Saturday, November 8th:

Shortstop Daniel Robertson went 1 for 3, and designated hitter Boog Powell went 0 for 4, while RHP Tanner Peters allowed 2 runs in 2 2/3 innings to take the loss, RHP Drew Granier gave up 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings, and RHP Austin House also allowed 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings in Mesa’s 11-4 loss on Saturday.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats

(October 7 – November 8)

Daniel Robertson (SS)

63 AB / 1 HR / 11 BB / 16 K / .333 AVG / .436 OBP / .397 SLG / .833 OPS

Boog Powell (OF)

60 AB / 2 HR / 11 BB / 9 K / .333 AVG / .437 OBP / .483 SLG / .920 OPS

Matt Olson (1B)
35 AB / 4 HR / 10 BB / 9 K / .257 AVG / .435 OBP / .686 SLG / 1.120 OPS

Tanner Peters (RHP)

13 1/3 IP / 15 H / 6 ER / 6 BB / 14 K / 4.05 ERA / 1.58 WHIP

Drew Granier (RHP)

13 1/3 IP / 15 H / 10 ER / 9 BB / 9 K / 6.75 ERA / 1.80 WHIP

Ryan Doolittle (RHP)

12 IP / 9 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 10 K / 1.50 ERA / 0.75 WHIP

Austin House (RHP)

10 1/3 IP / 8 H / 5 ER / 6 BB / 5 K / 4.35 ERA / 1.35 WHIP

 

In Other News…

First baseman Matt Olson has not appeared in an AFL contest since exiting a game on October 28 with a shoulder injury after a collision at first base. Over the past month, the A’s have acquired four arms (LHP Brad Mills and RHPs Jorge De Leon, Kevin Whelan and Taylor Thompson) along with one outfielder (Andrew Brown), all of whom are expected to provide depth for the team at Triple-A Nashville next season. Meanwhile, last season’s River Cats saves leader, RHP Jeremy McBryde, signed a major league contract with the Angels after becoming a minor league free agent this week. And A’s assistant general manager Farhan Zaidi was named the Dodgers’ new general manager on Thursday. We spoke often with Farhan about the A’s farm system and wish him well in his new position. You can check out our last interview with him here.

Below you’ll find a list of all the A’s minor league players who declared free agency this week. These players are now free to sign with any organization, or to re-sign with the A’s organization if they choose to.

Catchers: Luke Montz, Luis Martinez

Infielders: Jose Martinez, Dusty Coleman, Jefry Marte, Darwin Perez, Luis Baez

Outfielders: Nick Buss, Jeremy Barfield, Kenny Wilson, D’Arby Myers

Pitchers: Matt Buschmann, Joe Savery, Philip Humber, Jeremy McBryde, Jose Flores, Deryk Hooker, Marcus Walden, Tim Sexton, Shawn Haviland, Frank Gailey, Omar Duran, Tim Alderson, Manny Correa, Fernand Cruzado

 

 

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

Saturday, September 13th: RockHounds Score 9 Runs on Saturday to Even Up Texas League Series and Force Final Game on Sunday

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter D’Arby Myers (2 for 5 / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter D’Arby Myers (2 for 5 / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #4

Tulsa Drillers                  4

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Hooker 1-0 / 5.40

Down 2 games to 1 and facing elimination in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Saturday, the RockHounds brought out the bats and put 9 runs on the board to help them even things up and send the series to a decisive Game #5 at Midland on Sunday. The Hounds also got a strong outing from starter Deryk Hooker, who shut out Tulsa for 5 innings before allowing 2 runs in the 6th and exiting with two men on who would eventually come around to score. Hooker picked up the win, while RHP Murphy Smith struck out 5 in 3 scoreless innings of relief, and RHP Ryan Dull got the final three outs in the 9th. At the plate, five Hounds hitters had multi-hit games on Saturday. Designated hitter D’Arby Myers singled, doubled and drove in 3, while first baseman Max Muncy collected 4 hits and drove in a run, and third baseman Matt Chapman singled, doubled, walked and scored twice. Second baseman Daniel Robertson had 2 hits and 2 walks and drove in a run, and center fielder Kenny Wilson singled, doubled, stole a base, scored twice and drove in a pair for the RockHounds. The deciding game of the series is set to take place on Sunday with Nate Long taking the mound for Midland.

 

Sunday’s Game:

Tulsa @ Midland – 2:00pm PT / 4:00pm CT

 

 

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.

Tuesday, September 9th: Nate Long and Kent Matthes Combine to Lead RockHounds to Victory in Game #1 of Texas League Championship Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Nate Long (8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Nate Long (8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #1

Midland RockHounds  5

Tulsa Drillers                  1

WP – Long 1-0 / 1.13

HR – Matthes (1)

Nate Long’s arm and Kent Matthes’s bat combined to help the RockHounds win the opening game of the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Tuesday in Tulsa. Long, the Texas League wins leader, tossed another gem, allowing 1 run on just 3 hits over 8 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Jose Flores got the final three outs for the Hounds. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 7th, left fielder Kent Matthes smacked a 3-run homer to provide the margin of victory for Midland. Center fielder Kenny Wilson and catcher Beau Taylor both drove in a run, while right fielder Jeremy Barfield and first baseman Max Muncy had a pair of hits apiece for the Hounds.

 

 

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.

Thursday, September 4th: Kenny Wilson Helps Hounds Even Up Series while Stockton’s Season Comes to an End

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kenny Wilson (3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kenny Wilson (3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League South Division Championship Series – Game #2

Midland RockHounds  6

Frisco RoughRiders       3

WP – Dull 1-0 / 0.00

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kenny Wilson

(3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

With the game tied in the top of the 9th, the RockHounds pushed three runs across the plate to secure the victory and even up their best-of-five playoff series with Frisco on Thursday. Center fielder Kenny Wilson, who has proven to be one of Midland’s most productive hitters in this playoff series, had 3 hits on Thursday while driving in the tying run in the 6th and scoring the winning run in the 9th for the RockHounds. Right fielder Kent Matthes singled, doubled and walked, while second baseman Conner Crumbliss singled, walked and drove in a pair, and 1st-round draft pick Matt Chapman went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored a run for the RockHounds. Scheduled starter Chris Jensen was scratched for unknown reasons and RHP Tim Sexton came out of the bullpen to make the start on Thursday. Sexton was charged with 2 runs over 3 innings of work, while LHP Frank Gailey pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings in relief after Midland tied the game in the top of the 6th. RHP Ryan Dull struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning to earn the win, and RHP Jose Flores got the final out to pick up the save. The series will now shift to Midland for Game #3 on Friday.

Click here for more on the Stockton Ports’ Game #2 Result…

Wednesday, September 3rd: Tim Alderson & Michael Ynoa Struggle in Stockton’s Loss while Nate Long & Hiro Nakajima Have a Rough Time as RockHounds Lose

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

California League North Division Miniseries – Game #1

Stockton Ports    3

Visalia Rawhide  13

LP – Alderson 0-1 / 16.20

HR – Taylor (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Beau Taylor

(2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

A pair of 5-run innings did in the Ports in the first game of their best-of-three California League playoff series on Wednesday night. Starter Tim Alderson allowed a total of 6 runs, 5 in the 4th inning, to take the loss. RHP Michael Ynoa gave up another 4 runs in the 6th on a hit batter, a single, a double, a walk and an errant pickoff throw. Ynoa apparently injured himself on the throw and walked off the field with the trainer after the attempted pickoff. RHP Bobby Wahl replaced him and immediately surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, while RHP Josh Bowman gave up 2 more runs in the 8th. Catcher Beau Taylor reached base 5 times, on a single, a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch and a 2nd inning home run which briefly gave Stockton the lead. First baseman Matt Olson doubled twice, singled, walked and drove in a run, while shortstop Daniel Robertson singled twice, walked twice and scored a run, and designated hitter Renato Nunez singled in a run in the loss. The series moves to Stockton on Thursday with LHP Chris Lamb taking the mound for the Ports.

Click here for more on the Midland RockHounds’ Game #1 Result…

Thursday, July 31st: Hounds Win with the Help of another Kent Matthes Grand Slam while Deck McGuire Pitches Cats to Victory and Billy Burns Is Sent to Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (Grand Slam)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks      1

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Long 10-6 / 3.16

HR – Matthes (11)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kent Matthes

(Grand Slam)

Midland outfielder Kent Matthes hit his third grand slam in the last two weeks, which was also his sixth home run in the last six days, to help the Hounds win on Thursday. Outfielder D’Arby Myers and first baseman Blake Forsythe each drove in a run for the RockHounds. Starter Nate Long was solid, allowing just 1 unearned run while striking out 10 over 7 innings to earn his 10th win. Meanwhile, outfielder Kenny Wilson was outrighted to Midland, while former RockHounds outfielder Billy Burns was optioned to Sacramento.

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

Monday, July 28th: Kent Matthes Helps Hounds Win Again as Billy Burns Heads to Oakland

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  8

Frisco RoughRiders         6

WP – Hooker 1-0 / 5.40

HR – Matthes (9)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kent Matthes

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

Outfielder Kent Matthes continued his hot hitting for Midland on Monday, homering for the third straight day while also adding a single and a double and driving in 3 runs for the RockHounds. Shortstop Dusty Coleman doubled in 2 runs, while catcher Bruce Maxwell had 2 hits and drove in the tying run, and second baseman Hiro Nakajima had 2 hits and drove in a pair, including the winning run for the RockHounds. Starter Shawn Haviland was a little shaky, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits over 4 1/3 innings of work, while RHP Deryk Hooker picked up the win with 3 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Jose Flores got the final three outs for his 5th save. Meanwhile, with Craig Gentry landing on the disabled list for the A’s, Midland outfielder Billy Burns was called up to take his place and went 0 for 1 in his first major league appearance on Monday. Outfielder Chad Oberacker, who was on the disabled for Stockton, was activated and reassigned to the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Sacramento, 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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Wednesday, July 9th: Matt Olson’s 25th HR & 4 RBIs Help Ports Win while Cats Come Out Victorious in Tommy Milone’s First Start

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (HR / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts      3

Stockton Ports  5

WP – Sanchez 3-0 / 3.12

HR – Olson (25), Walsh (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

Slugger Matt Olson carried the day for Stockton on Wednesday night. The big first baseman drove a bases-clearing double off the wall to break a 1-1 tie in the 4th. Then, after Modesto had crept back within a run, he laced his league-leading 25th home run over the right-field wall in the 7th. Second baseman Colin Walsh, who just returned to Stockton from Sacramento, hit his 1st home run for the Ports in the 1st, while shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, walked and scored a run, and catcher Bruce Maxwell had a pair of hits for the Ports. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed 3 runs and struck out 5 over 6 innings to earn his 3rd win on Wednesday. RHP Rodolfo Fernandez, who was recently acquired from the Brewers, tossed 2 scoreless innings in his Ports debut, while RHP Nolan Sanburn got the final three outs for his 5th save. And in other news, outfielder Chad Oberacker was reassigned to Stockton from Midland.

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