Bay Area Baseball

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September 4, 2013
Choice's first MLB hit 'not how I imagined it, but I'll take it'

OAKLAND -- Michael Choice picked up the first hit of his big-league career Tuesday night -- a dribbler in front of home plate that he beat out for an infield single.

"Wasn't quite how I imagined it, but I'll take it," Choice said with a smile this morning. "It was nice to get it out of the way."

Choice, who is not in today's lineup against the Rangers after starting the first two games of the series, had the ball waiting for him in his locker Tuesday night and said it may find a place in his home office, where he has other memorabilia from college and the minors. He said his parents, wife and son were at the game, which was "pretty cool."

"It was a good feeling," he said. "But next thing I noticed was Coco (Crisp) getting in the box pretty fast, so I was like, all right, I've got to check the outfielders. I didn't want to get caught up in the moment too much."

Choice hasn't looked susceptible so far to getting caught in the moment, called up and thrust immediately into the middle of a pennant race. He started Tuesday night in right field -- where he has played 10 games in his minor-league career, all this season with the River Cats -- and made a couple of nice catches, including a sliding play coming in on Alex Rios' blooper and a running catch in the corner.

Choice said he was playing strictly left field for about a month before being called up, but "The corners are about the same. You've just kind of got to flip your mind a little bit on where the walls are. But I didn't feel uncomfortable out there at all. I felt good."

Manager Bob Melvin, who has said he'd feel comfortable playing Choice at any outfield position, said the rookie has appeared to handle the timing of his debut in stride.

"Last couple days he's prepared very well and he's excited about playing," Melvin said. "You can see his energy level, and he's had some good at-bats on top of that."

Against Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish today, it's the A's left-handed lineup, meaning Choice is on the bench. Here's the full lineup against Darvish:

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

And the Rangers' lineup against Jarrod Parker:

CF Martin
LF Gentry
2B Kinsler
3B Beltre
C Pierzynski
RF Rios
1B Moreland
SS Profar
DH Adduci

* Catcher Derek Norris (fractured toe) said today he's "ready to go" and expects to be activated when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Norris reiterated he'll still feel the toe, but: "I'm not going to be a liability."

Melvin's task will then be deciding which of his three catchers plays on a given day, especially against left-handed pitchers. Kurt Suzuki has been starting against lefties and has made a pretty seamless transition handling the pitching staff he worked with up until last summer. Norris has hit left-handers well and, from his numbers during his brief rehab appearance in Triple-A, appears not to have lost much in the way of timing.

"It's going to be a tough call on who starts when a lefty's out there, but it's a better problem to have than not enough guys," Melvin said. "You could see them both."

* Outfielder Josh Reddick (wrist) has taken soft toss and hit off a tee with "no problems," but until he takes live batting practice the A's won't have a better idea on if Reddick will be able to return when his 15-day DL stint is up, Melvin said.

* Darvish has been one of the American League's least hittable pitchers this season -- 236 strikeouts in 174 2/3 innings, a 2.73 ERA and a 12-6 record -- but two of those losses have come against the A's. Oakland beat Darvish 1-0 on May 21 (he allowed one run in six innings) and 6-2 on June 18 (five runs, four earned, in six innings), with both games played in Texas.

-- 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.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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