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Athletics September call-ups: Round 2; Correction regarding postseason eligibility

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The Athletics made their second round of September call-ups ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Seattle Mariners. Also in this article, a correction regarding postseason eligibility.

Jamie Squire

The Oakland Athletics recalled right-handed hitting first baseman Nate Freiman and left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz from the Class-A Beloit Snappers.

Recalled from Beloit: Nate Freiman and Drew Pomeranz

Both Freiman and Pomeranz were optioned to Beloit last week because it was the highest level A's affiliate that was not competing for a minor league postseason berth, and a minor league player may be recalled ahead of the ordinary 10-day minimum period for assignment if that minor league season ends. Freiman appeared in two games for the Beloit, Wisconsin club, going 4-for-9 with two doubles and a home run, and striking out four times. Pomeranz did not make an appearance for the Snappers after starting for the Athletics on last Wednesday, August 27 against the Houston Astros.

Nate Freiman will start at first base and bat sixth in this evening's game, facing left-handed pitcher James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners.

Sacramento River Cats season ended September 1

The Sacramento River Cats season ended on Monday on a 2-1 extra-inning defeat to the Reno Aces when Daric Barton grounded into a double play. The River Cats missed the Pacific Coast League postseason by one game to the Aces. The other members of the 40-man roster that ended the year with Sacramento are outfielder Shane Peterson and starting pitchers Josh Lindblom and Arnold Leon. The Athletics have announced their lineup this afternoon, and it appears the A's are done with roster moves for today:

Shane Peterson

Left-handed batting outfielder Shane Peterson, 26, is the last player in the organization that was part of the original part of the trade that sent Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals. Playing in center field and left field for Sacramento, Peterson finished the year batting .308/.381/.460 for the River Cats, striking out 139 times, walking 66 times, and hitting 11 home runs in 625 plate appearances. Peterson's power shows up a little bit more against right-handed pitching, his slugging percentage of .475 against right-handers is about 50 points higher than his .422 against southpaws. Peterson has only three innings at first base this year, though he has fielded the position in the past.

Peterson was passed over for promotion this year at the end of July when Craig Gentry was placed on the disabled list with a broken right hand, possibly because Gentry bats in the opposite direction. The A's instead elected to select the contract of Billy Burns from the Class Double-A Midland Rockhounds until the team traded for outfielders Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld on July 31.

If you're part of an Athletics trivia night and there's an entire round on the Matt Holliday trade, you will be interested to know that pitcher Clayton Mortensen was traded for pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth, who is now pitching in independent ball for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

The only other player in the A's organization that can be said to derive from the Matt Holliday trade is Class-A Advanced reliever Jake Sanchez. He arrived in late June in a trade with the White Sox for Michael Taylor, who in turn arrived to the A's in the 2009-10 offseason in a trade with the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, who in turn arrived to the A's in a trade in July 2009 in the trade that sent Holliday to the Cardinals.

A correction regarding postseason eligibility

In previous articles, I noted that the list of postseason-eligible players is those players listed on the 25-man roster at the end of August 31 and players on the disabled list on August 31. I also noted that it has been typically true that this limitation is not a barrier to teams adding players around the organization, because a player still on the disabled list at the end of the regular season can be replaced by anyone that was in the organization on August 31.

This turns out to no longer be accurate. In a report by the Seattle Times' Ryan Divish, "Any player on the 40-man roster as of Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason roster." In that report, Divish provides a link (PDF) to the text of Major League Rule 40 as it currently reads:

To be eligible to play for a Major League Club in a Wild Card Game, Division Series, League Championship Series, or the World Series, a player must

(A) have been on a Major League Active, Disabled, Bereavement/Family Medical Emergency, Paternity, Suspended or Military List of such Major League Club as of Midnight Eastern Time on August 31, or on such date be under control, but on optional assignment, or on assignment from another Major League organization and not yet reported; and

(B) have remained reserved to such Major League Club (at the Major or Minor League levels) through the beginning of the applicable post-season series, unless the player is replacing an injured player pursuant to Rule 40(a)(3).

The addition of the phrase "or on [August 31] be under control, but on optional assignment" means that any player on the 40-man roster that had been assigned to the minor leagues as of August 31 was automatically eligible to participate in the postseason. Examining an older edition of Major League Rule 40 shows that those words were not previously present. As always, only 25 players may be named to a postseason roster, but the 25 players can be changed between postseason series.

Implications for the Athletics

The rule regarding activating other players in the organization as an injury replacement remains in effect, but would only be useful if the A's wanted to activate another player to participate in the postseason that was not on the 40-man roster on August 31. The A's would use this rule, for example, if they wanted catcher Bryan Anderson to play in the postseason, as Anderson was not on the 40-man roster, but was in the organization, at the end of August.

This updated rule means that Nate Freiman, Drew Pomeranz, and any other player on the 40-man roster as of August 31 will be eligible to participate in postseason play regardless of whether they were on the active roster at the end of August 31, without regard to the injury status of A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, and others who may remain on the disabled list through the end of the regular season.

The updated rule also allows for much more radical roster changes between postseason series. Under the old rule, the number of players not on the 25-man roster on August 31 could not exceed the number of postseason-eligible players on the disabled list at the end of the year. A team playing in the Wild Card Game, for example, had limited flexibility in removing starting pitchers that were not going to be available to pitch in that game. Now, without regard to injury status, a team can freely remove all the pitchers it knows won't be available for the game and add as many relief pitchers or other role players (such as pinch runners like Billy Burns) as it likes from their 40-man rosters.