Oakland A's MLN: Gray To The Big Leagues

Gray has been brilliant with Sacramento this year.

For the second time this week, the Oakland A's are promoting one of their top prospects to the big leagues. Get the details on the A's latest move, as well as a new draft signing and more in our latest Oakland A's Minor League Notebook.

Gray Set To Join The A's

It appeared last week that Sonny Gray was nearing a promotion to the big leagues when he was scratched from a start. The A's elected to call on Dan Straily to fill the open rotation spot last week, keeping Gray back in Triple-A. However, Gray was scratched from another scheduled start for the Sacramento River Cats on Tuesday and he is headed to the big leagues after all.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report Gray's impending promotion. Gray will replace Straily on the A's 25-man roster for now. Straily was sent back to Sacramento despite allowing just four hits over his two starts with the A's over the past week. Gray will pitch out of the bullpen to get his first big league experience, according to Slusser, who spoke with A's manager Bob Melvin after the A's 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Straily was the winning pitcher in that game, as he allowed a run on two hits in 6.1 innings.

Straily's spot in the rotation won't be needed again until July 23rd, so Straily is expected to return to the A's roster at that time. It has been an odd year for Straily, who has been demoted twice because of roster machinations after starts in which he earned the win and pitched very well.

Gray has been a starter throughout his professional career, but he features a hard sinking fastball and a plus breaking pitch that would make him effective in a relief role as well as a starter's role. The A's 2011 first-round pick was named to the PCL All-Star team earlier this month and was set to start the game for the PCL squad. In 102.1 innings this season, Gray has a 2.81 ERA and a 107:34 K:BB ratio. Gray has allowed just four homeruns this season.

Gray is the second former A's first-round pick this week to be promoted to the big leagues for the first time. Grant Green, the A's top pick in 2009, was promoted to the big leagues on Monday and made his major-league debut that same day. Both Gray and Green had been named to the PCL All-Star team. Michael Choice, the A's top pick in 2010, is the only remaining member of the River Cats on the PCL All-Star squad.


Report: A's Sign Akau

Jim Callis of BaseballAmerica.com reported on Tuesday that the Oakland A's had come to terms with their 2013 20th-round pick Iolana Akau. Callis reported that Akau received a bonus of $375,000.

Akau was thought to be a difficult sign. The Honolulu, Hawaii high school star is an excellent student and had a firm commitment to play for the University of Hawaii. The 5'11'', 180-pound right-handed hitting catcher was considered one of the top defensive catchers in the class. A good athlete, Akau has a plus throwing arm and quick feet. His hitting was considered behind his defense from a development perspective, but the A's feel he can become a solid professional hitter.

Akau won't turn 18 until the last day of August. He will likely be assigned to the A's Arizona Rookie League team for his professional debut.


Overton Undergoes Tommy John Surgery

Left-hander Dillon Overton, the Oakland A's 2013 second-round pick, had successful surgery on his left elbow on Tuesday. The Tommy John surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews.

Overton starred for Oklahoma as an amateur, but struggled with injuries during his junior year. Despite the injuries, he still managed a 9-2 record and a 2.91 ERA for the Sooners this season. Overton failed his post-draft physical, however, and signed with the A's underslot when it was revealed that he would need elbow surgery.

The surgery will cost Overton nine-to-12 months, but assuming he returns to his pre-injury form, it may not delay him all that much. Overton is a polished collegiate left-hander with a deceptive low-90s fastball, breaking ball and change-up. He had first-round buzz going into the 2013 season before there were questions about his health.


Other News and Notes

- Catcher Ryan Gorton hit his first professional homerun in the Vermont Lake Monsters' 2-1, 10-inning win on Tuesday. Vermont won the game on a suicide squeeze by Boog Powell, who went 3-for-4 with the walk-off RBI. Dylan Covey, Tyler Johnson and Trevor Bayless combined to limit Hudson Valley to a run on four hits over 10 innings. They struck-out nine and walked one (Covey struck-out five in four innings, Johnson K'd two in four innings and Bayless struck-out two in two innings). Bayless earned his first pro win.

- CF Myrio Richard had four hits and two RBI and Wade Kirkland and B.A. Vollmuth each homered in the Stockton Ports' 7-2 win over Visalia. Addison Russell went 2-for-5 with a double, while Dusty Robinson also added two hits, including a double. Josh Bowman had his best start of the season, allowing just a first-inning run in eight innings. He struck-out six and walked none.

- Filling in for the promoted Sonny Gray, Chris Resop struggled in a spot start for Sacramento, and the River Cats fell, 10-3, to Colorado Springs. Resop allowed eight runs in 2.1 innings. He gave up nine hits and a walk and didn't strike-out a batter. Jemile Weeks had three hits, giving him seven over his last two games. Michael Choice and Scott Moore each had two hits in the loss.

- Justin Higley's second professional homerun was the AZL A's only offense in their 6-1 loss to the AZL Angels on Tuesday. Gabriel Santana and Billy McKinney were the only other A's to collect hits in the loss.

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