As if the Oakland Athletics haven’t produced enough young, talented pitchers, they may have another one joining the rotation.
A day after his 24th birthday, Windsor (NR) goes to the mound hoping to become the latest in a long line of pitchers—Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Rich Harden among others—that developed in the Athletics farm system and are now stars in the majors.
Windsor is being promoted after going 8-0 with a 4.07 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A Sacramento. He began the season with Double-A Midland, where he was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA. The right-hander, Oakland’s third-round pick in the 2004 first-year player draft, has struck out 110 and walked 30 in 99 2-3 innings this year.
“He’s got good (stuff),” said A’s reliever Ron Flores, who was Windsor’s teammate for about a month in Sacramento. “He’s not the hardest thrower in the world, but he’s got a great changeup that people just swing right through. He’s a big guy, kind of your typical big-school pitcher.
“You can tell he’s pitched in a lot of big games, because he’s not scared out there at all.”
Some of those big games came in the 2004 College World Series, where he was MVP as he led Cal State Fullerton to the championship. That gives him something in common with new teammate Mark Kotsay, who also played for Fullerton and led the school to a title in 1995 while winning Series MVP honors.
Kotsay, batting .571 (12-for-21) in his last five games, went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to help Oakland (48-44) beat Boston 8-1 on Sunday. The Athletics won three of four games in that series of division leaders.
“This was an important series for us, and we played very well against a very good team,” Kotsay said. “The trick is taking it to Baltimore with us.”
The Orioles (43-51) did Oakland a favor this weekend by winning two straight over Texas, which fell one game behind the AL West-leading Athletics.
Baltimore salvaged a four-game split with the Rangers, holding them without an earned run over the final 23 innings of the series. Texas, which won 15-1 in the series opener, went consecutive games without an extra-base hit for the first time since August 2000.
“I didn’t know that, but that’s a pretty amazing statistic against a club like that,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “I’d say that was an outstanding effort by our pitching staff, especially after they had to watch the first game.
“If they keep pitching like that, we’ll stay in some ballgames and win our share.”
Baltimore will start rookie Adam Loewen (0-2, 7.12), who is taking over Daniel Cabrera’s spot in the rotation. Loewen was sent to the minors on June 25 before earning a return trip to the big league club by excelling in three starts at Triple-A Ottawa, and the Orioles would like to see Cabrera follow suit.
“Before Adam went down we told him to force your way back, and he’s done that,” Orioles vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette said. “We fully expect that Daniel will do the same thing.”
Loewen has battled control problems while with Baltimore, walking 21 and hitting four batters in 30 1-3 innings. He walked six in five innings in his last start on June 24 and did not get a decision in Baltimore’s 3-2 victory over Washington.