Peterson's bat grabs Melvin's rapt attention

Published: Sunday, Mar. 10, 2013 - 2:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 10, 2013 - 8:06 am

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Shane Peterson was one of the few comers in the A's farm system who didn't get a look on the major-league roster last year. But he's getting one this spring, and he's leaving manager Bob Melvin and the front office staff wide-eyed.

Already tied for the Cactus League lead in hits coming into the game, Peterson had two Saturday – two singles – in a 4-3 Oakland loss to the Texas Rangers.

Peterson is 15 for 31 (.484) this spring and has four multi-hit games, even though he often comes off the bench, as he did in this latest game. One of his two singles against Texas drove in two runs.

"Peterson, I don't even know what to say," said Melvin. "He only gets two at-bats again and gets two more hits. Man, I can't remember the last time somebody's made this kind of impression every single day."

It's exactly the impression Peterson hoped he'd make on the major-league staff.

"That was my goal coming into spring training," said the 25-year-old outfielder, who hit .389 with seven homers and a .484 on-base percentage in just over 150 at-bats for the Triple-A River Cats after a promotion. "This is the first time they've seen me play, and I'm just trying to do whatever I can do to show myself. I know there are a lot of outfielders with not a lot of spots open."

Peterson has shown so much, though, the A's may take a more extensive look at him at first base, even though he is a left-handed swinger, as is starter Brandon Moss. So far, he's only seen action at first in one split-squad game, but Melvin said he could get more. That's fine with Peterson, who said he actually feels more comfortable at first base.

"I've played first base way more than I've played outfield in the past, up through college, until I got drafted, and I feel more comfortable there," said Peterson, who was originally a second-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. He was acquired in 2009 Matt Holliday deal.

Notes – Dan Straily was pleased with his three-inning starting stint – at least the first and third innings of it. In the opening inning, the right-hander broke out his slider extensively for the first time this spring, striking out three fairly impressive hitters – Ian Kinsler, Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre. Straily gave up three hits and two runs (one earned) in the second after he stopped throwing the slider, but then pitched a quick 1-2-3 third.

"I felt like myself out there for the first time in three outings," he said. "I brought the slider back out in the first inning, and it was fun to see it was still sharp and working for me."

• Grant Balfour, who underwent arthroscopic surgery Feb. 15 for a torn meniscus on his right knee, threw a bullpen session with no hitches. While there is no timetable for the A's closer to pitch in a game, Melvin isn't worried. "If he continues the pace he's on right now and has no setbacks, he certainly would be ready for the season," the manager said.

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