By Josh Boyd
July 30, 2002
Athletics lefthanded relievers Mike Venafro and Mike Magnante combined for a 5.26 ERA and a .274 average against lefties this year, and now both find themselves out of a major league job as Oakland looked to Cleveland for help. Venafro was demoted to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, and Magnante was designated for assignment Tuesday after the A’s picked up Ricardo Rincon from the Indians for minor league utilityman Marshall McDougall.
Rincon, 32, went 1-4, 4.79 in 46 appearances for Cleveland in 2002. He has surrendered 36 hits in 36 innings, while walking eight and fanning 30. Lefties are hitting just .256 with a .284 on-base percentage against him. Acquired from the Pirates in 1997 for Brian Giles, Rincon attacks hitters with a mid-80s slider and a hard, 91-mph sinker. In 329 games over a six-year big league career, he has gone 11-18, 3.48 with 20 saves. The A’s will pick up the $500,000 remaining on Rincon’s 2002 salary and another $1.7 million for next season.
McDougall, 23, gained national acclaim by homering six times in a game while at Florida State in 1999. He hit .419-28-106 and was the College World Series MVP that year, but wasn’t drafted until the 26th round by the Red Sox and reluctantly returned for his senior season. He signed with Oakland as a ninth-rounder in 2000. He hit .303-9-56 in 84 games at Double-A Midland this year, and has torched lefthanders for a .435 average. McDougall has played games at every infield position this year, seeing the most action at third base. He’s not a spectacular athlete by any means at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, but he generally gets the job done.