OAKLAND -- Michael Choice, the A's first-round draft pick in 2010, will make his major-league debut today starting at designated hitter for the A's in their series opener against the Texas Rangers.
"I'm excited," Choice said this morning. "It's a moment I've been waiting for for a long time."
It wasn't a total surprise when Choice saw the lineup card today -- he said manager Bob Melvin hinted on Sunday that he'd play today with the Rangers starting a left-hander in Derek Holland. Choice said his parents are flying in from Dallas, and his wife, sister-in-law and son Blair, who turns two next month, will all be in attendance.
"Just get him in there as soon as possible, kind of ease him in in a DH role," Melvin said. "it allows us to get all righties in there against Holland ... and he also has a chance to hit one out of the ballpark."
As Melvin pointed out, when the A's have faced left-handed pitchers this season they've typically had at least one left-handed hitter in the lineup by necessity. If Choice makes an immediate impact with the bat, Melvin didn't rule out consistent playing time for him in September against lefties.
"It depends on his performance," Melvin said. "His performance will dictate how many at-bats he gets."
Here's the full A's lineup against Holland:
And the Rangers' lineup against Dan Straily:
* Catcher Derek Norris was 3-for-5 with a home run for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday as he continues to work his way back from a fractured toe. Melvin said Norris will catch nine innings today and the A's expect to activate him when his 15-day DL stint is up on Thursday.
That will give the A's three catchers -- Norris, Kurt Suzuki and Stephen Vogt -- and Melvin was asked how playing time will be distributed there, particularly between the right-handed hitting Norris and Suzuki.
"I really don't know yet," Melvin said. "Like most things we do, we'll try to match up the best on a particular day."
* Last time the Rangers were in town their lineup still featured Nelson Cruz, who later was among the players suspended for 50 games for their connections with the Biogenesis clinic. Texas lost its home runs and RBI leader, but they've seen third baseman Adrian Beltre help pick up the slack in August. Beltre hit .381 for the month with five home runs and 21 RBIs.
* Melvin said Brett Anderson is available out of the bullpen today, after getting the entire Rays series off following his first appearance back from a foot fracture.
* The A's open with Dan Straily, who may be glad for the atypical 1:05 p.m. Monday start due to the Labor Day holiday. Straily is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in six starts during the day this season as opposed to 5-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 16 starts at night, and all 15 of the homers he's allowed have come at night.
* The A's can pull even with Texas in the West with a win today, thanks largely to a 7-3 record in their last three series against Baltimore, Detroit and Tampa Bay. Melvin just said that "obviously with the Detroit series (winning three of four) and Tampa series, we're playing the best we have in the second half to this point." If so, it's a good time.
-- Matt Kawahara