Tag Archive for Sacramento River Cats

Tuesday, July 22nd: Shane Peterson Singles in Winning Run in 13th for River Cats as Drew Pomeranz Is Solid in His Third Start for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Outfielder Shane Peterson (3 for 6 / RBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Outfielder Shane Peterson (3 for 6 / RBI)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  3

El Paso Chihuahuas          2

WP – Savery 6-1 / 2.51

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Shane Peterson

(3 for 6 / RBI)

With two outs, the bases loaded and the game tied in the top of the 13th inning, outfielder Shane Peterson stepped to the plate and singled home the winning run for the River Cats on Tuesday. It was the third hit of the night for Peterson, who was last week’s Pacific Coast League Player of the Week. Second baseman Jose Martinez singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Anthony Aliotti had a pair of doubles and scored twice. Starter Drew Pomeranz was solid, allowing just 1 run and striking out 5 over 6 innings of work, while RHP Evan Scribner gave up the tying run in the bottom of the 9th. LHP Joe Savery pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to pick up the win, and RHP Seth Frankoff tossed a scoreless frame in the bottom of the 13th to earn his 1st save for Sacramento.

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Monday, July 21st: Zach Neal Pitches Sacramento to Victory as Andy Parrino Returns to River Cats and Renato Nunez Homers to Help Stockton Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  6

El Paso Chihuahuas          1

WP – Neal 3-5 / 4.48

HR – Whitaker (3)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Zach Neal

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

RHP Zach Neal delivered an impressive start for Sacramento on Monday, allowing just 2 baserunners on a pair of singles while walking none and striking out 3 over 5 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for the River Cats. Neal also had to endure a 67-minute rain delay in the middle of the 4th inning before returning to the mound. RHP Tucker Healy gave up 1 run in 1 inning of relief, while RHP Paul Smyth pitched 2 perfect innings, and RHP Jeremy McBryde tossed a scoreless 9th for Sacramento. Designated hitter Josh Whitaker homered for the second straight night, while third baseman Jose Martinez had 3 hits, and first baseman Daric Barton drove in 3 runs for the River Cats. Meanwhile, shortstop Andy Parrino was optioned back to Sacramento, while infielder Colin Walsh was placed on the disabled list. And River Cats outfielder Shane Peterson was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week.

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Sunday, July 20th: Lou Trivino Pitches Snappers to Victory while Rehabbing A’s Outfielder Josh Reddick Homers in Ports Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Lou Trivino (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Lou Trivino (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Bowling Green Hot Rods  0

Beloit Snappers              4

WP – Trivino 5-8 / 5.33

HR – Vollmuth (9)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Lou Trivino

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

RHP Lou Trivino turned in his best start of the season to help the Snappers win their second straight on Sunday. Trivino allowed just 2 hits over 7 shutout innings to earn his 5th win for the Snappers, while RHP Sam Bragg pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to pick up his 4th save. Outfielder Tyler Marincov had his second straight multi-hit game, posting a pair of doubles and driving in a pair of runs, and first baseman B.A. Vollmuth homered in his second straight game for the Snappers.

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Saturday, July 19th: Snappers Win Behind Marincov’s Big Bat while Tommy Milone Struggles for Cats and Josh Reddick Goes 0 for 4 for Ports

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 4 / Home Run / Triple / 2 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 4 / Home Run / Triple / 2 RBIs)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Bowling Green Hot Rods  4

Beloit Snappers              5

WP – Adkins 1-3 / 5.40

HR – Marincov (12), Vollmuth (8)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Tyler Marincov

(3 for 4 / Home Run / Triple / 2 RBIs)

Outfielder Tyler Marincov had a big night for Beloit on Saturday. Last year’s 8th-round draft pick for the A’s singled, tripled, homered and drove in 2 runs, including the tying run in the bottom of the 6th to help the Snappers snap their 3-game losing streak. First baseman B.A. Vollmuth singled, homered and drove in a pair, including the winning run in the 6th, while second baseman Melvin Mercedes, outfielder Justin Higley and designated hitter Ryan Mathews had a pair of hits apiece. Starter Hunter Adkins allowed 4 runs and struck out 6 in 6 innings of work to pick up his 1st win, while RHP Brendan McCurry struck out 4 in 2 scoreless innings of relief, and RHP Bobby Wahl pitched a perfect 9th to post his 4th save.

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Friday, July 18th: Hounds Win in a Walk-Off Thanks to Kent Matthes Grand Slam while Josh Reddick Homers in 9th to Help Ports Win

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

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

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions     3

Midland RockHounds  5

WP – Hassebrock 4-0 / 6.32

HR – Matthes (5)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Kent Matthes

(Grand Slam)

With the bases loaded and Midland down by two runs in the bottom of the 9th, designated hitter Kent Matthes slugged a grand slam to give the RockHounds the walk-off win on Friday night, and the Hounds have now won 13 of their last 15 games. Catcher Beau Taylor and third baseman Jefry Marte had a pair of hits apiece in the game. Starter Shawn Haviland had a solid outing, allowing 2 runs and striking out 6 in 6 innings of work, while LHP Frank Gailey tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Blake Hassebrock picked up the win after giving up an unearned run in the top of the 9th.

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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.

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

RockHounds to River Cats: A’s Minor Leaguers Josh Whitaker, Tucker Healy and Seth Frankoff Talk About the Transition to Triple-A

A few A’s minor leaguers have made their way from Midland to Sacramento over the past few weeks – outfielder Josh Whitaker and relievers Tucker Healy and Seth Frankoff. And we took the opportunity to talk to the talented trio about the transition to Triple-A just a few days before the All-Star break in Sacramento…

 

JOSH WHITAKER

jw53436225e2696.preview-300bThe A’s 25th-round draft pick in 2010 out of Kennesaw State in Georgia, Whitaker was one of the RockHounds’ top sluggers in the first half, posting a .320/.367/.523 slash line before his promotion. The 25-year-old missed some time after being beaned in the head in early June in an incident that saw him taken off the field in an ambulance and led to a stint on the disabled list. But once he recovered, Whitaker was on his way to the River Cats, where he’s put up a .219/.250/.313 slash line in his first 16 games at Sacramento.

AF:  Now you were pretty seriously beaned in the head last month at Midland. You were unconscious for a while and were taken from the field in an ambulance. How scary was that experience for you?

JW:  Yeah, it was definitely scary. I didn’t realize it at the time. But afterwards, when my wife was calling and my parents were calling trying to get info and stuff, I kind of realized how much it scared everybody else really more than me. But it’s something that I guess still lingers. You know, anytime I get something high and tight, I kind of get flashbacks of that and it’s still something I’m really working hard on to get over. I’ve talked to Sparky [Sacramento hitting coach Greg Sparks] about it, and I asked him what his approach would be to get over something like that. And he just said the more at-bats over time I have, the better it’ll get. So hopefully that’ll all click here soon and I can get back to how I was before.

AF:  Once you came to, did you remember all the details of what had happened?

JW:  Yeah, I had a pretty good idea. I didn’t have much memory loss. I remember the first pitch of that at-bat him throwing a slider and just thinking to myself that I didn’t really see it very good, so I was just trying to stay in there and try to see the spin a little better. And I just stayed in there a little too long and he got me. So whenever I have at-bats where it’s kind of tough to see here in the first inning, I just kind of have flashbacks of that. And it’s just something I’m going to have to end up getting over if I’m going to do well. So hopefully time will help that.

AF:  So not long after recovering from that, you got the call up here to Triple-A, which is another adjustment. How does the talent here in the Pacific Coast League look different to you than the talent you faced in the Texas League?

JW:  Talent-wise, I don’t think there’s too much of a difference, besides command of all their pitches. I’ve seen the same velocity and breaking stuff in Double-A from organizations’ top prospects that they send there. I guess that league was easier on me because I kind of had an idea how teams would pitch me. There’s so few teams in the division and you play them over and over and over again. The scouting report really doesn’t change. They have an idea of how they want to pitch you and they do that to you every time. So I guess being able to go through this league and face the teams and know how they’re going to approach pitching me will help with the timing as well.

AF:  So you don’t feel that the pitchers you’re facing here in Triple-A are all that different from the guys you saw in Double-A. It’s just that you don’t know them and how they’re going to go after you.

JW:  Yeah, I kind of had an idea before and now I’m just trying to learn them.

AF:  With the transition to another level here in Sacramento, are there a few friends or familiar faces you’ve played with in the past you were glad to see here?

JW:  Yeah, I’ve been playing with [Anthony] Aliotti for a couple years now. We’re actually roommates on the road. Me and him critique each other. We’ve been around each other enough to know each other’s swings.

AF:  So you’re each other’s hitting coach!

JW:  Yeah, exactly. So if he sees something in me that seems weird or awkward, he’ll let me know, and vice versa. So it’s always good to have somebody who’s been around and seen you play.

AF:  Are there any specific aspects of your game that you feel you need to work on to get to the next level?

JW:  I’ve really been taking a lot of pride in my defense this year, as far as outfield assists and making every routine play. And I’ve got the ability to make the diving plays and stuff like that. I’ve really been focusing on that. I know that I’ll be able to hit, so I try my best not to worry about it and that’ll come with time. But right now as I’m going through this period of getting back from getting hit in the head, I really want to focus on things I can control like my defense and baserunning and stuff like that.

AF:  So I guess your main goal the rest of the way this year is just getting more comfortable hanging in there at the plate after the beaning.

JW:  Yeah, that’s my only goal is to feel comfortable staying in on any type of breaking pitch that starts in at me coming back over the inside corner…Hopefully I’ll be over that soon and maybe the numbers will start to show.

 

TUCKER HEALY

thDSC03367cThe A’s 23rd-round draft pick in 2012 out of Ithaca College in New York, Healy’s impressive strikeout numbers since he joined the system have put him on the fast track, going from Vermont to Beloit to Stockton to Midland to Sacramento in just two years’ time. The 24-year-old has struck out a total of 190 batters in just 121 1/3 innings in his minor league career. This season, Healy struck out 29 in 17 1/3 innings while posting a 1.04 ERA for Stockton, then went on to strike out 29 in 19 1/3 innings while putting up a 2.33 ERA for Midland, and he’s now struck out 13 in 7 1/3 innings with an ERA of 3.68 so far for Sacramento.

AF:  What’s been the key to your success that’s helped you get all the way up here to the Triple-A level so quickly?

TH:  I think it’s pretty simple. When I get ahead of hitters, that’s when I do my best. Getting strike one on guys is really important, and converting 1-1 counts to get it to 1-2 instead of 2-1 makes a huge difference. When I get ahead, I’m good. When I fall behind, that’s when I might struggle. So just getting ahead of hitters and mixing in a good mix of pitches.

AF:  So once you get ahead of hitters, you feel pretty confident you can finish them off.

TH:  Yeah, for sure.

AF:  Are there any particular challenges facing these Triple-A hitters here?

TH:  If you look at the times I’ve struggled so far here, it’s when I fell behind hitters. It’s that simple…They’re definitely more experienced and have a better eye and better knowledge at the plate.

AF:  And if you fall behind them, they’re going to take advantage of you.

TH:  You can make less mistakes, for sure.

AF:  Tell me a little bit about the pitches you throw and what kind of command you feel you have of them.

TH:  I throw a fastball, a slider and a changeup, and I feel confident in every one of them. I’m sure if you look at my percentages, they might show that I throw my fastball more than the others, but I feel confident with all three. In terms of my command, I just focus on throwing strikes and getting ahead and not being too fine at times. Sometime when I get into trouble it’s when I try to place it in certain spots instead of going right after them…When I’m out there, I try to aim to the glove. Wherever he puts the glove, I try to put it right there.

AF:  Is there anything in particular you’re working on or anything the coaching staff’s been trying to get you to focus on at this point?

TH:  They’ve been trying to get me to throw my slider more since I was at Stockton. I think it’s come along a good ways from the beginning of the season to now. And I was just thinking about this and talking to some of the pitchers…I have to be more willing to throw in on guys and jam them up and that opens up the outside later in the count…Coming in is definitely huge, more so than down at the lower levels, you have to come in here.

AF:  You started the year at Stockton, then went to Midland and now you’ve made your way to Sacramento. So how has making all those transitions been for you?

TH:  It’s definitely been a good ride. I’m happy to be here. It’s definitely not easy picking up and moving. I’ve done it twice now this season, going from Stockton to Midland and moving here in like a two month span. It wasn’t easy, but I’m definitely happy to be here. And the guys have been real nice in the clubhouse, being friendly with us and talking to us, so that’s been a big help coming here.

 

SETH FRANKOFF

sfDSC02927bxThe A’s 27th-round draft pick in 2010 out of the University of North Carolina, Frankoff began as a starter but made the transition to a full-time reliever last season at Stockton, where he struck out 93 in 74 1/3 innings while putting up an impressive 2.78 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League. The 25-year-old took over as the closer at Midland this year and was as effective as anyone in the system in that role, posting 15 saves – which still leads all A’s minor leaguers – and striking out 47 in 33 2/3 innings in relief for the RockHounds.

AF:  When you first got to Sacramento, you got into a couple of rough games, so what’s the transition to Triple-A been like?

SF:  The hitters are a lot more experienced here. So you’ve got to execute all your pitches. A couple of times I didn’t do that, and I got hurt because of it. So you’ve just really got to focus in on staying aggressive in the zone and executing pitches. And if you’re going to miss, missing where the ball’s not going to get hit…My first outing, I left one up and a guy hit a home run off me. And then Reno’s not the most forgiving place. But at the same time, you’ve still got to deal with those conditions. So it’s been an adjustment period for me, and I’m working on it and working to get better every day.

AF:  The ballparks in the PCL are definitely a little different than some of those ballparks in the Texas League.

SF:  To say the least.

AF:  Now you were one of the most effective closers in the A’s system during the first half of the year at Midland. So what was really working for you down there?

SF:  I was just kind of going straight to put-away. I was pitching at the end of the ballgame, so you kind of get guys out quickly…My goal when I go out there is to get ground balls and punchouts and to keep the ball on the ground and keep it in the infield so that guys aren’t advancing bases and try to get the inning over with as quickly as possible.

AF:  What are some of the differences about playing at the Triple-A level?

SF:  You’re playing in a big city, and everywhere you go is a farily big city. You have a lot more mature ballclub. We have guys with some big league time in the clubhouse. So I’m just trying to go about my business the right way and try to do what you’re told.

AF:  And try not to look like the new guy…

SF: Yeah, absolutely.

AF:  What about the ballparks you’re playing in here in the PCL, do they seem a lot bigger and a lot closer to a major league environment to you?

SF:  Yeah, everywhere we’re going there’s 10,000-seat stadiums. And here in Sacramento, on July 3, I believe we had 15,000 people. So it’s definitely a joy to play in front of that many people…now in the big leagues, there’s 30,000+ but still, when you play in front of more people, it’s an adrenaline rush being out there.

AF:  So what about the the process of transitioning from one place to another during the season?

SF:  Still trying to figure stuff out logistically – my car and some of my luggage is still in Midland. My wife is in North Carolina trying to work on getting everything out here, so it’s a process.

AF:  Well, you did arrive here with your Midland teammate Tucker Healy anyway. Are there many other familiar faces you’ve played with before on this River Cats team?

SF:  Well, I played with Ryan Ortiz last year in Stockton. Josh Whitaker, Anthony Aliotti – played with them for a couple years. Most of the guys here I’ve met during spring training. But at the same time, we’ve got guys we’ve claimed who I’ve never met before. It’s kind of a revolving door. It’s kind of crazy. There’s definitely a lot more moves going on here than at Midland.

AF:  Yeah, I imagine you’ve never played with a guy like Tommy Milone before.

SF:  I’ve met Tommy over the past couple years and he’s a very good guy, and he’s somebody you try to learn from. He’s got quite a bit of success and experience in the big leagues, and you just try to pick up on what he’s done to make himself successful and just try to pick his brain and see how he goes about his business.

AF:  So have you had the chance to talk much to some of the more veteran pitchers here?

SF:  In the bullpen, there’s plenty of time to talk. Philip Humber down there is a former third overall pick and had a perfect game. There’s quite a bit of experience down there – Savery and Scribner are 40-man guys who’ve been in the big leagues this year. So you just try to pick up on things that they do and go about your business the right way.

AF:  Being a guy who’s played baseball his whole life and worked your way up through the system, now that you’re here at Triple-A, can you smell the major leagues from here? Does it feel a lot closer?

SF:  It definitely feels closer. I haven’t pitched the way I wanted the last few outings. But you can’t worry about that. You’ve just got to go out there and get the job done. It’s all about pitching well consistently. You know, at Midland, guys just don’t get called up, whereas here, it can happen. So you’ve just got to try to put yourself in the best situation to give yourself that opportunity, because that’s what we’re all here for is to try and get there.

 

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Sunday, July 13th: Zach Neal Solid in Cats Loss as A’s Option Drew Pomeranz to Sacramento and Billy Burns Snatches 44th Base for Midland

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Reno Aces                          2

Sacramento River Cats  1

LP – Neal 2-5 / 4.80

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Zach Neal

(6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

With the A’s top five affiliates all losing on Sunday, RHP Zach Neal turned in the top performance of the day for the River Cats. Neal had a solid outing for Sacramento, allowing 2 runs while striking out 4 over 6 innings of work, but he still ended up taking the loss. Designated hitter Daric Barton had 2 hits and drove in the River Cats’ only run of the game, while shortstop Jake Elmore had a pair of hits, walked and stole a base, and catcher Ryan Ortiz and second baseman Jose Martinez both singled and walked in the loss. With infielder Andy Parrino recalled by the A’s, infielder Colin Walsh was reassigned to the River Cats from Stockton. The A’s also optioned LHP Drew Pomeranz to Sacramento, where he’ll now join LHP Tommy Milone and RHPs Arnold Leon, Matt Buschmann and Zach Neal in the River Cats rotation.

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

Saturday, July 12th: Drew Pomeranz Impresses in Rehab Start for River Cats while Hiro Nakajima Homers in Hounds Win and Andy Parrino Rejoins A’s Roster

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Drew Pomeranz (4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Drew Pomeranz (4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Reno Aces                          3

Sacramento River Cats  4

WP – Buschmann 6-4 / 4.46

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Drew Pomeranz

(4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

LHP Drew Pomeranz was impressive in his rehab start for the River Cats on Saturday, allowing just 1 hit, a home run in the 2nd inning, while walking none and striking out 7 over 4 innings of work. RHP Matt Buschmann gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in 4 innings of relief to pick up the win, while RHP Jeremy McBryde tossed a scoreless 9th for his 8th save. Third baseman Alden Carrithers had 2 doubles and drove in a run, while left fielder Shane Peterson walked and doubled in a pair, and center fielder Kenny Wilson singled, walked, stole a base and scored a run for the River Cats. With Oakland infielder Alberto Callaspo landing on the disabled list, River Cats infielder Andy Parrino was recalled by the A’s on Saturday.

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