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Monday Morning Minors

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This has been an exceptional weekend for me, and the fact that the A's swept the Yankees in New York is a great topping. It's really amazing how a good run by the A's can lift my spirits. But hey, it's just a game, right?

A little roster shuffling this week as Ben Fritz was called up to Sacramento and Michael Madsen to Midland.

Fritz was a Moneyball draftee that never really worked out until this year. He's been slow to progress and hasn't thrived at any level. Now 25, Fritz has put together a nice campaign so far in 2006, posting a 3.30 ERA at Midland in 71 innings. The right-hander has struck out 55 in that span while walking 22. Not great numbers, but certainly good enough to give him a shot in Sacramento, especially the way their staff has been struggling.

Madsen is a bit more puzzling, but he may simply be the best among available options at Stockton. He was a late-round 2005 pick, who dominated short-season Vancouver in his 80 innings there. He started 2006 in Stockton and has posted a 4.47 ERA over 52 1/3 innings with 42 strikeouts and 20 walks. He made his first double-A start on Sunday, and got tagged for six runs in the first inning. He did recover to throw five innings, but gave up eight runs in the game.

That game itself was an interesting one. Over nine innings both clubs scored 10 runs each, sending the game into extras. Midland's opponent, Frisco, scored six runs in the first inning against Madsen, and Midland scored six runs in the eight inning to tie the game at 10, where it remained through the 14th inning. In the 15th inning, Travis Buck hit a solo home run to put Midland in the lead, only to have Frisco answer back to tie it up, then score the game-winner in the 16th. This game came the day after Midland beat Frisco 18-2.

Obviously Mike Rouse needs some credit here. If you have been to a river Cats game any time recently, you probably saw Rouse. In fact, he has played in 279 games for Sacramento, second most in team history. The 2001 draftee has been solid at all stages of his career, especially his OBP. He has never had much power, but he has put up nice walk totals and a decent average. 2006 hasn't been an especially strong year for Rouse, posting around a .750 OPS, but Billy must have thought he could produce better than Ginter. Certainly it isn't realistic to think Rouse will keep this pace up, but he can't be worse than the alternative.

So here's the question. Mike Rouse looks to EASILY be a better choice than Perez or Scutaro right now. How long do we stick with him in the starting lineup? If he stays hot, do we platoon him with Ellis when he returns?