On Thursday, the Oakland A's will begin the annual process of welcoming a new crew of prospects into…
Oakland A's MLN: Cougars All Made Of Stars
The Kane County Cougars are enjoying a strong first half of the season, and that team success was reflected on Tuesday when the All-Star teams were announced for the Midwest League. The Cougars are sending six players to the midseason classic, the most for Kane County since they sent seven players in 2004. The game will be on June 17th in Midland, Michigan.
Kane County's pitching staff has been superb all season. Through Tuesday, the Cougars' staff led the Midwest League in team ERA with a sparkling 2.67 mark through 57 games. Three Cougars' hurlers will be on the Western Division All-Star squad: starters Craig Italiano, Scott Mitchinson and Jamie Richmond.
Italiano's All-Star nod is one of the feel-good stories of the season. The right-hander has missed most of the past two seasons with injuries. In 2006, Italiano was sidelined with a shoulder injury. In 2007, his season came to a premature end when he was hit in the forehead with line-drive. In 2008, Italiano has been nearly unhittable for the Cougars. He leads all minor league starting pitchers with an 0.65 ERA. His record stands at 7-0 and he has allowed only 32 hits in 55 innings, while striking out 68.
Mitchinson has been almost as impressive as Italiano this season. He celebrated his All-Star nod on Tuesday by tossing six scoreless innings in the Cougars' 1-0 win over Cedar Rapids. He allowed only two hits and two walks and he struck-out five in the outing. Mitchinson has a 1.34 ERA and a 60:9 K:BB ratio in 60.1 innings this season. He was a minor league Rule 5 pick-up by Oakland out of the Philadelphia organization this off-season.
Richmond, who was acquired from Atlanta in the Mark Kotsay trade this January, is 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts this year. The native of Toronto, Canada, has walked only seven batters in 63 innings and he has one complete game.
Kane County will be sending three position players to the All-Star Game, as well. Centerfielder Corey Brown, infielder Larry Cobb and first baseman Greg Dowling will be representing the Cougars in Midland.
Brown, a supplemental first round pick of the A's last season, was named as a starter for the Western Division team. Brown has an 844 OPS in 193 at-bats thus far this season with eight homers and 28 RBIs. He has five stolen bases in five chances.
Cobb didn't begin the year with Kane County, but he has hit well since joining the Cougars midway through April. He has a .313 batting average in 112 at-bats with two homers and 14 RBIs. His .377 on-base percentage is second on the team among players with more than 20 games with the Cougars this year.
Dowling leads the Cougars with 30 RBIs in 54 games. He has a .271 batting average with three homers and 18 doubles. Both Dowling and Cobb spent much of last season with the Cougars.
DiNardo Outrighted To Triple-A Sacramento
The A's announced on Tuesday that left-hander Lenny DiNardo had cleared waivers and he has been outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. DiNardo was designated for assignment last Friday when the A's made nine roster moves involving the 40-man roster. The side-arm left-hander began the season on the A's 25-man roster and made five appearances for Oakland. He allowed 11 runs in 9.2 major league innings. DiNardo has also spent significant time with Sacramento this season, making four starts for the River Cats. He has a 3-1 record in those four starts with a 5.25 ERA in 24 innings.
DiNardo spent all of last season with the A's, making 35 appearances, including 20 starts. He had a 4.11 ERA in 131.1 innings for the A's last year with 59 strike-outs and 50 walks. The A's are DiNardo's third organization. He began his career with the New York Mets and was picked up by the Boston Red Sox in 2004 as a Rule 5 pick. He won a World Series ring with Boston that season.
Other News And Notes
æ Sacramento got back in the win column after dropping two in a row with a 5-2 victory on the road versus Colorado Springs on Tuesday night. Starter Brad Knox moved to 5-1 on the season with 7.2 solid innings of work. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out six. Knox lowered his season ERA to 4.12. Jay Marshall continued his impressive run of pitching with 1.1 scoreless innings to earn his second Triple-A save. He hasn't allowed a run in seven Triple-A innings since joining Sacramento in late May. Casey Rogowski and Wes Bankston each had two RBIs, while Danny Putnam and Mike Massaro each had two hits and Cliff Pennington added a hit, an RBI and two walks. Rogowski's two RBIs came on a first inning homer, his eighth of the season.
æ Reliever Chad Kerfoot picked up the win in relief of Mitchinson in the Cougars' 1-0 victory on Tuesday. Kerfoot threw three scoreless innings of relief to move to 2-0 on the season. He allowed only one hit and lowered his ERA to 2.45 in 14.2 innings this year. Adam Klein had the only RBI in the game for the Cougars, who managed only three hits versus Jordan Walden and the Cedar Rapids Kernals.
æ The Dominican Summer League is underway. The A's two DSL affiliates took on one another on Tuesday, with the A's DSL1 squad squeaking out a rain-shortened 2-1 win over the A's DSL2 team. A number of the A's off-season international signings are represented on both squads. Outfielder Robin Rosario, who received the highest international signing bonus ever given out by the A's, is on the DSL2 squad, along with other high-profile off-season signings, shortstop Jensi Peralta, left-hander Omar Duran and right-hander Anderson Fortuna. The DSL1 roster includes high-profile off-season signing Franklin Contreras, a 17-year-old shortstop.
æ The Stockton Ports dropped a heart-breaker on Tuesday night, losing 2-1 to Bakersfield on the road. The Blaze scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Jared Lansford to end the game. Lansford had pitched three scoreless innings before running into trouble in the ninth. Stockton's only run came on a solo homerun by Sean Doolittle. The homer was his 15th of the season. The Ports managed only four hits, the homer by Doolittle, a double by Matt Sulentic and two singles, one by Josh Horton and one by Mike Affronti.
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