Add A.J. Cole to the list of pitchers chewed up and spit out by the California League.
Like Daniel Bard, Tyler Matzek and several others before him, Cole found his first taste of the hitter-friendly league to be a disaster. He was roughed up to the tune of an 0-7, 7.82 record with high Class A Stockton before the A's decided they'd seen enough. He was shipped back to low Class A after giving up 10 hits in back-to-back-to-back games.
Cole gave up 12 hits in his first start for Burlington, but since then he's shown a lot of signs of being the pitcher the A's thought they were getting in last offseason's Gio Gonzalez trade. Cole has not allowed more than one earned run in a start since. On Tuesday night, he held Cedar Rapids to three hits and one run while striking out six in six innings.
In Bard's case, the Red Sox's ended up skipping him over high Class A after he straightened himself out. Matzek is doing much better in his second try at the California League. It's way too soon to say that Cole is ready for a return trip, but the hue of his season looks a whole lot rosier now than it did a month ago.
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