DeFrancesco is weathering a storm of roster moves.
Times have been tough recently for the Sacramento River Cats and no one knows that better than manager Tony DeFrancesco. Minor League Correspondent Paul Rathert caught up with him after Sunday’s loss to the Tucson Sidewinders and he was willing to spend a few minutes talking about some of the early season chaos.
DeFrancesco has a tough job in the midst of roster turmoil (the Oakland A’s have made five roster moves involving River Cats’ players since 4/14 and with Milton Bradley now on the DL and Jason Kendall likely to serve a four-game suspension, more moves are likely to take place soon), but through 29 games the Cats have the same record as they did last season (13-16) when they went to the PCL Playoffs.
Oakland Clubhouse: With all of the roster moves that have taken place recently, how have you been able to keep the team competitive?
Tony DeFrancesco: We’re battling right now. Our pitching has been kind of weak; we don’t have a lefty out of the ‘pen [the River Cats’ only lefty reliever, Ron Flores, was recalled to Oakland in late April]. We just have to try and go out every day and compete the best we can. The guys are battling right now, but it isn’t easy.
OC: Is there any end in sight to the moves?
TD: Well, they have to get healthy in Oakland before they can send any players back. [Chad] Gaudin is going to pitch again in a couple days, but overall everything is out of whack right now.
OC: Any worries about losing a catcher to them now that it’s been announced that Jason Kendall will be suspended?
TD: No, because it’s kind of exciting. I think. to get an opportunity in the big leagues. [If Brown were to get the call], it gives Baker a chance to catch here.
OC: The Sidewinders are a strong team full of top prospects from the Diamondbacks organization, are there any players that have stood out and impressed you?
TD: [Stephen] Drew is a pretty good player. Their outfielder [Carlos] Quentin is another solid player. They have [Randy] Choate, the left-handed reliever out of the bullpen as well. I’ve watched that team for the past three years and the play us tough every year. They’ve got a tough team.
OC: Juan Dominguez starts Monday in the last game of the series. What does he have to do to give this team a chance to win?
TD: Minimize his mistakes. He’s been up in the zone and falling behind. He has to concentrate on making one pitch at a time. He’s done that in the past, he’s been a major league player. He has to get back on track otherwise the opportunities won’t be there. [Ed. Note: Dominguez allowed one earned run in six innings in that Monday start]
OC: Any worries about losing Keith Ginter to fill the next open bullpen spot in Oakland? [Ginter made an emergency bullpen appearance Saturday against Tucson and pitched two innings, giving up two runs on three hits and walked a batter. Luckily for the Sidewinders, he did not record a strike out.]
TD: (Chuckles) That was an unfortunate situation. You’ve got 14,000 people here and you are putting in a second baseman for two innings. That’s not the way it should be.