The Marlins sign . . . Armando Benitez?!

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When Fredi Gonzalez got canned yesterday, his defenders pointed out that, hey, the Marlins didn’t exactly stock his bullpen with decent pitchers.

Well, let no man say that Jeff Loria doesn’t listen to the critics! He — or his subordinates — signed a reliever today: Armando Benitez.  Who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 when he put up a 5.68 ERA for the Blue Jays in eight games before being released.  He kicked around the Astros’ organization a bit last year but was released by them too. For all we know he’s been hustling pool or teaching gardening classes or something since then.

Why sign Benitez? Best explanation I can come up with is that maybe someone told Loria that it was 2004 or something and he expects to be getting back the guy who saved 47 games?  Secondary explanation: maybe he’s secretly trying sabotage games in order to trigger a clause in the stadium lease that would allow him to move to Cleveland!

Either way, Benitez will go to New Orleans, physical willing, to pitch for the AAA club.  Don’t be surprised to see him in Miami soon, though, because these games don’t lose themselves.

With Jeff, all things are possible.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.