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September 1, 2013
Choice, Weeks among A's call-ups as rosters expand

OAKLAND -- The A's made their first round of September call-ups this morning, recalling Jemile Weeks, Andy Parrino and Pedro Figueroa and selecting Michael Choice from Triple-A Sacramento. To make room for Choice on the 40-man roster, the A's designated catcher Luke Montz for assignment.

*** UPDATED: 12:40 p.m.

Manager Bob Melvin said that none of the call-ups are end-of-season rewards for guys who have performed well in the minors. The A's are in the middle of a playoff race, and Melvin said: "In the position that we're in, when you add guys, they're potentially not just going to sit around. There's reasons for it."

Melvin said Choice adds another corner outfield option with "thump in his bat" who can play against left-handers. Weeks gives the A's speed and a switch-hitting option off the bench, and both he and Parrino have played both the infield and outfield, giving Melvin more flexibility late in games or in extra innings. Figueroa will likely be a match-up guy against left-handers.

The 23-year-old Choice, the A's first-round pick in the 2010 draft, has split most of his time this season between left field (55 games) and center (52). But Melvin said Choice played all three positions "very well" in spring training, so he wouldn't hesitate to use him at any of them.

Offensively, Choice has had a strong season, batting .302 with 14 homers and 89 RBIS in 132 games with the River Cats. He was recently named to the All-PCL team, which he found out about from a River Cats PR staffer right before a reporter was going to ask him about it. News of his first call-up sounds like it was more ceremonious.

"I was pretty excited," Choice said. "(Manager Steve Scarsone) probably wasn't as excited as I was after losing that game (Saturday night). But it was definitely a shock to the system and I'm happy to be here."

Choice said he has "kind of gotten into a little groove lately where I'm able to see pitches and get deeper into counts. ... Overall I feel good." He said his parents, wife and son will all be in attendance Monday.

Weeks, meanwhile, returns to the Coliseum after a trying year that saw him get demoted toward the end of last season, battle through injury in spring training and play this entire season so far at Triple-A.

"It's refreshing," Weeks said. "It's been a while. Put a lot of work in down there and it's refreshing for me."

Weeks, who hit .303 in 97 games for the A's his rookie season in 2011 but just .221 last year before being sent down, said he would describe the last year "as just a mental preparation for what you might have to see in the future."

Weeks was batting .271 with a .376 on-base percentage and 96 runs in 130 games with the River Cats. The year included a foray into the outfield for the first time in his baseball career -- something he said actually came fairly naturally after the initial shock.

"I learned as I went on," he said. "Just tried everything possible to see what my route was to get back here, and here we are.

"It gets boring from time to time," Weeks added of being so far away from the action. "You've got to refocus."

Melvin said he likely won't use either Weeks or Parrino -- a strong defender and natural shortstop -- in the outfield unless pressed into it by something like an extra-inning game in which he's already exhausted the bench.

Parrino was up with the A's for nine games in April, going 3-for-24 as a utility infielder. Figueroa, the hard-throwing left-handed reliever who appeared in 19 games for the A's last season, was 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 46 games in Sacramento.

All the call-ups are on the A's lineup card today, though none are starting. Here's the A's lineup as they go for a three-game sweep against the Rays:

CF Crisp
3B Donaldson
SS Lowrie
RF Moss
LF Cespedes
DH Callaspo
1B Barton
2B Sogard
C Vogt

And the Rays' lineup against A.J. Griffin:

LF DeJesus
2B Zobrist
3B Longroia
DH Joyce
1B Loney
RF Myers
CF Jennings
C Molina
SS Escobar

* Josh Reddick said he hasn't had any pain in his sprained right wrist for the past day and a half after receiving a cortisone shot in the middle of last week, and that he's optimistic he'll be able to return as soon as his 15-day disabled list stint is up.

Reddick has not picked up a bat yet, though, and his return will be contingent on when that actually happens. Melvin said Reddick will do strength work the next couple days and could take batting practice later this week.

"Once he starts to do that it's a day-by-day proposition again," Melvin said. "But the way things are going right now, there's a decent chance he can be ready to go in 15 days."

* Catcher Derek Norris, who is rehabbing with the River Cats from a fractured toe, caught seven innings Saturday night and had "no problems," Melvin said. Norris, who is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, will be Sacramento's designated hitter today and catch again Monday, Melvin said.

* The A's will send Griffin to the mound trying for their first three-game sweep since June 11-13, when took three from the Yankees.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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