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Monday Morning Minors

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Yeah, so I like butterflies. I started to notice them last year on the baseball field. It seemed they were always different kinds too, with different colors and sizes. It isn't that I'm an expert by any means, it just makes me happy to see one now and again, especially against the backdrop of freshly cut outfield grass. So anyway, I consulted an expert and he confirmed that this doesn't make me any less of a man.

Jared Lansford made his debut on May 1st with low-A Kane County and went five hitless innings before getting tagged for a couple hits. His final tally was 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB and 5 K. He made his second start on Sunday and went five innings innings and gave up five runs (three earned) with a walk and a strikeout. Not flawless, but certainly a fine beginning to his career. The two starts were Lansford's first as a pro after being drafted out of St. Francis High School (CA) in the second round of last year's draft.

A couple of days after I say how impressive Brad Ziegler has been, he goes and gets shelled for seven runs over three innings. Oh did I mention the six home runs? Including three to start the game? In case you were wondering, he got a loss.

Travis Buck (first round 2005) has been smoking hot this year, especially over the past couple weeks. The 23 year-old outfielder has a minor league best 15 doubles to go with three home runs and three triples in high-A Stockton. He is batting .345, has a .398 OBP and a .618 SLG. Over his past seven games he has mashed out 15 hits, 10 of which were doubles. Once he matures a bit more and some of those doubles turn into home runs, he could be a force to be reckoned with.

With the suspension of Jason Kendall, someone will probably come up from the minors for the duration of the four games. Maybe they will get a start in the four games, but maybe they will just ride the pine the whole time. Either way, let's look at the candidates.

Jeremy Brown is perhaps the best offensive choice, slugging a career high in home runs last year and having very solid 2006 campaign thus far. The knock is of course on his defense, even though it has reportedly been much improved over the past couple of years. If the front office has him penciled in as the backup of the future, they may take the opportunity to use this as a preview.

A recent Sacramento Bee article talked about John Baker being an option, citing his AAA experience. Experience is nice, but a .262 average and 2 XBH so far this year isn't so attractive. His defense isn't all that much better than Brown's either. Another big problem is that he isn't on the A's 40-man roster, so a move would need to be made if they wanted to move him up.

Kurt Suzuki is the other option. He is at AA, but if they are looking for the best defensive option, he is probably their pick. Suzuki moves better behind the plate and has a great arm. That's not to say his offensive lacks; his OBP is top 5 in the Texas League, and average top 10. Still, AA is a long way from the majors, so he may simply be overmatched at this stage. Suzuki also isn't on the 40-man roster.

So keeping in mind that a roster move would need to be made if Suzuki and Baker were to come up, who will be Melhuse's backup while Kendall is serving his time?