OAKLAND ? Former Kentucky pitcher Joe Blanton got ?The Call? this past weekend as the Oakland Athletics purchased his contract from Triple-A Sacramento.

In his first appearance with the A?s on Tuesday, Blanton threw a perfect inning in relief and struck out one batter.

Blanton, a Nashville, Tenn., native, is the second ex-Wildcat to be called up to the majors this year, following Andy Green who joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in June. Blanton was a first-round pick in the 2002 Major League Draft, going 24th overall to Oakland.

Prior to being called up, Blanton recorded an 11-8 record with a 4.19 earned-run average in 28 appearances with the Sacramento River Cats. He fanned 143 and walked just 34 in 176 1/3 innings of work. Entering the year, Blanton was rated the No. 2 prospect in the A?s organization by Baseball America.

In his three years with Kentucky, Blanton owned a 13-12 record with a 5.08 ERA. A power pitcher, he struck out 231 batters in his 209 innings. His final year with the Wildcats, he set a school record with 133 strikeouts and allowed just 37 walks in 100 innings.

Blanton was an honorable mention selection to the 2000 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team after posting a 5-0 record and picking up two saves working in relief.

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