Minor League Transactions

As anticipated, this week’s transactions were not nearly as hectic as the post-spring training maneuverings. This installment looks at all the moves made between April 7-13.

Last week’s transactions available here.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Rehabilitation assignment: LHP Randy Johnson (high Class A Visalia)

Johnson plans to make one more rehab start before returning to Arizona. Interestingly, the 6-foot-10 Johnson wasn’t even the tallest Visalia player. Righthander Ryan Doherty, a nondrafted free agent from Notre Dame, is listed at 7-foot-1. Thanks to our Diamondbacks’ correspondent Jack Magruder for that one.

Atlanta Braves
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Ryan Basner
Placed on temporarily inactive list: LHP Francisley Bueno
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Francisley Bueno

Baltimore Orioles
Recalled: LHP Kurt Birkins, LHP Brian Burres
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Hayden Penn

The Orioles intend to use Burres as a long reliever, a role his track record of effectiveness versus righthanded batters supports. The Orioles are being cautious with Penn, who was experiencing stiffness in his forearm.

Boston Red Sox
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Javier Lopez

Lopez has been acquired twice by the Red Sox, the first time in the 2002 major league Rule 5 draft and again last June from the White Sox for David Riske. He’s pitched just 33 1/3 innings for the organization.

Chicago Cubs
Released: LHP Fabian Jimenez

Jimenez, a native Colombian, had been acquired with RHP Joel Santo from the Padres for Scott Williamson last July.

Chicago White Sox
Placed on minor league disabled list: OF Paulo Orlando
Reinstated from disabled list: 2B Brandon Johnson

Speedy center fielder Orlando stole 29 bases in his pro debut; he and organization-mate Anderson Gomes are natives of Brazil.

Cincinnati Reds
Selected to major leage roster: SS Enrique Cruz
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP George Wilkerson
Rehabilitation assignment: OF Norris Hopper (high Class A Sarasota)

Cruz returns to the majors for the first time since 2003, when as a major league Rule 5 pick of the Brewers, he batted a practically-impossible .085/.145/.099 in 71 at-bats. He rebounded to hit a solid .300/.354/.466 with 14 homers for Double-A Huntsville in 2005. The Mets had signed Cruz out of the Dominican Republic in 1998.

Cleveland Indians
Signed: RHP Tim Drew, C Yamid Haad
Released: 1B Alan Zinter
Rehabilitation assignment: LHP Cliff Lee (high Class A Kinston), OF Franklin Gutierrez (Triple-A Buffalo)

Drew is more famous for his bloodlines (he’s J.D.’s and Stephen’s brother) and for helping fetch Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee from the Expos than he is for his pitching. He’s returning to the organization that drafted him 28th overall in 1997 after missing all of 2006 while recovering from shoulder surgery. Haad had been recently released by the Devil Rays. The switch-hitting Zinter, 38, has cracked 250 minor league home runs in 17 U.S. seasons. He’s played for seven organizations–and in the Japanese Pacific League–since being drafted 24th overall by the Mets in 1989.

Colorado Rockies
Signed: RHP Marco Duarte

Florida Marlins
Signed: LHP Thomas Cowley
Selected to major leage roster: RHP Rick Vanden Hurk
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Lee Gardner
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Cristhian Martinez, RHP Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Todd Sears
Reinstated from disabled list: C Trent D’Antonio

With Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson on the shelf, the Marlins turned to Vanden Hurk for an emergency start April 10. The 6-foot-5 Dutchman fanned five and allowed a lone run in 4 2/3 innings. Gardner was optioned despite saving a game, finishing two others and posting a 1.50 ERA. A nondrafted free agent originally signed by the Devil Rays in 1998, Gardner has 130 career minor league saves and a 3.28 ERA in 503 career innings.

Kansas City Royals
Placed on temporarily inactive list: OF Jarrod Dyson
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Jarrod Dyson

Los Angeles Angels
Recalled: RHP Greg Jones
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Steven Shell

The Angels recalled Jones when Kelvim Escobar hit the disabled list. Jones inherits Hector Carrasco’s long relief role, while Carrasco fills in for Escobar in the rotation.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Recalled: RHP Chin-Hui Tsao
Placed on minor league disabled list: LHP Alberto Bastardo
Reinstated from disabled list: RHP Spike Lundberg, RHP Miguel Pinango
Rehabilitation assignment: SS Rafael Furcal (high Class A Inland Empire)

Tsao, three times the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect, was called up when Matt Kemp went to the disabled list. The frequently-injured Tsao appeared in just 30 games in 2004 and 2005 combined, and did not pitch at all in 2006. He had Tommy John surgery in 2001 and has been besieged by shoulder trouble in recent years.

Milwaukee Brewers
Signed: OF Ruben Mateo
Placed on minor league disabled list: LHP Jose Romero, 3B Taylor Green
Reinstated from disabled list: RHP Johnathan King, OF Darren Ford

Once one of the game’s most promising young players, Mateo never recovered his luster after a fractured leg he suffered as a rookie for the Rangers in 2000. The Reds, Pirates and Royals all gambled on him, but were not rewarded. Mateo played in Korea in 2005 and did not play professionally in 2006 after being released by the Nationals during spring training. He’s still just 29 years of age.

Minnesota Twins
Signed: C Jason Anthony, C David Hernandez
Recalled: LHP Glen Perkins, SS Alexi Casilla
Selected to major leage roster: OF Josh Rabe
Optioned to Triple-A: C Chris Heintz

Casilla and Perkins got September call ups to the Twins last year, and their return has been hastened by injuries to Jeff Cirillo and Rondell White. Rabe fills Lew Ford’s reserve outfielder role as Ford recovers from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

New York Mets
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Jorge Reyes

New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Bob Zimmermann, OF Jamal Strong
Recalled: OF Kevin Thompson
Placed on minor league disabled list: LHP Phillip Coke

Zimmermann, a fourth-round pick of the Angels in 2003, was released during spring training. Likewise, Strong had been released by the Red Sox. Thompson is filling in for the injured Hideki Matsui, who has a strained left hamstring.

Oakland Athletics
Released: SS John McCurdy
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Chad Lee

McCurdy’s name is familiar to readers of “Moneyball,” as he was selected 26th overall in 2002 out of Maryland. He played sparingly above the high Class A level and batted .259/.308/.374 as a member of the Oakland organization.

Philadelphia Phillies
Signed: LHP Abel Gomez, 2B Kevin Howard
Traded: 2B Brent Abernathy to Nationals for future considerations
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Joe Bisenius, RHP Zach Segovia, C Chris Coste
Optioned to Double-A: SS Michael Garciaparra
Reinstated from disabled list: SS Hector Made
Placed on restricted list: SS Hector Made
Placed on temporarily inactive list: RHP Zach Segovia, C Dusty Wathan, SS Michael Garciaparra

Made is serving a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test; he was acquired from the Yankees for Sal Fasano last July. Nomar Garciaparra’s younger brother Michael was claimed on waivers from the Mariners last week. The 36th overall pick of the 2001 draft, he hit .267/.357/.351 in five seasons in the Seattle organization. Bisenius didn’t allow a run in his two big league innings; the highly-regarded relief prospect should get another chance this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Signed: SS Jose de los Santos, SS Jose Hernandez
Released: RHP Steven Duguay
Optioned to Triple-A: C Ryan Doumit
Reinstated from disabled list: RHP Steven Duguay
Placed on suspended list: 2B Cameron Blair
Rehabilitation assignment: LHP John Grabow (Triple-A Indianapolis)

Hernandez, 37, has signed on for his 21st professional season; he’s had two previous stints with the Pirates and also has played in the majors for the Rangers (with whom he signed out of Puerto Rico in 1987), Indians, Cubs, Braves, Brewers, Rockies, Dodgers and Phillies. A career .252/.312/.418 hitter, Hernandez is probably most famous for fanning 185 and 188 times for Milwaukee in 2001 and 2002. Only late-season benchings prevented him from attaining the major league record–which was 189 at the time–but Hernandez can claim three of the 20-highest single-season totals of all time. Doumit hasn’t shown much in the majors (.237/.323/.395), but he’s hit .345 and .318 with power in two previous Triple-A stints. Grabow is recovering from elbow inflammation.

St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: SS Ted Obregon
Recalled: LHP Randy Keisler
Reinstated from disabled list: LHP Eric Haberer

Keisler, once among the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, will fill in for the injured Chris Carpenter. The 31-year-old Keisler has been an effective Triple-A pitcher since 2000, though his major league ERA (6.82) is three runs higher than his minor league ERA (3.71).

San Diego Padres
Selected to major leage roster: C Pete LaForest
Reinstated from disabled list: C Brandon Gottier

The lefty-hitting LaForest, who notched a mere 15 at-bats in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season, replaces the injured Josh Bard on the roster. LaForest has hit .257/.345/.457 in his minor league career but is not a highly-regarded defender.

San Francisco Giants
Signed: LHP Ricardo Rincon
Released: RHP Sun Woo Kim
Optioned to Triple-A: 2B Kevin Frandsen
Placed on minor league disabled list: 2B Derin McMains, SS Ivan Ochoa
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Sun Woo Kim

Talk about misallocated resources. Rincon was injured for all but 3 1/3 innings of the first year of a two-year, $4 million contract with the Cardinals, and was released before the second even began. Formerly one of Boston’s better pitching prospects and once traded for Cliff Floyd, Kim hadn’t found consistent big league work since 2004, when he went 4-6, 4.58 with 87 strikeouts in 136 innings for Montreal.

Seattle Mariners
Recalled: LHP Jake Woods
Placed on minor league disabled list: RHP Jason Snyder, 2B Yung-Chi Chen
Reinstated from disabled list: RHP Renee Cortez

Chen, the Mariners’ top middle infield prospect, is having surgery on his left shoulder and is slated to miss approximately five months.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Placed on minor league disabled list: OF Garrett Groce
Placed on suspended list: RHP Greg Dupas
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Greg Dupas

Texas Rangers
Selected to major leage roster: RHP Jamey Wright
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Mike Wood
Designated for assignment: LHP Daniel Haigwood

Haigwood was acquired from Philadelphia for major leaguer Rule 5’er Fabio Castro last season. Wright, 31, added the Rangers to a major league resume that already included the Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals, Royals and Giants.

Toronto Blue Jays
Placed on minor league disabled list: LHP Daryl Harang

Washington Nationals
Signed: OF Brandon Watson
Released: SS Alex Gonzalez
Acquired: 2B Brent Abernathy from Phillies for future considerations
Recalled: RHP Saul Rivera
Reinstated from disabled list: OF Abraham Nunez

Watson returns to his signing organization after finishing 2006 in the Reds system. He’s a lefthanded-hitting center fielder with career .304/.349/.357 minor league numbers with 171 stolen bases, but he’ll have to outplay Ryan Church and Nook Logan for big league playing time. Elsewhere, the Nats shuffled their organizational middle infield depth, adding Abernathy and subtracting “the other” Alex Gonzalez. Despite a spotty big league track record, Abernathy, 29, has had a distinguished pro career. He was a second-round pick of the Blue Jays in 1996, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and a member of IL-champion 2004 Buffalo Bisons. Unfortunately, he’s now in the same organization as Ronnie Belliard, D’Angelo Jimenez, Josh Wilson and Melvin Dorta, four players of similar ability.