Pineda Warmed As Weather Did

Just talking about it is likely enough to make Burlington's Ryan Pineda shiver. Spring baseball in the Midwest League can be a difficult stretch, but it was almost too much for the native of Las Vegas, Nevada.

The A's 28th-round selection in last year's draft braved bone-chilling temperatures all while getting acclimated to being a professional ballplayer.

"This was the coldest I've ever felt back in April and May," said Ryan Pineda, who was a fixture in the Bees' infield this summer.

"It was 30 or 40 degrees and we'd get rained out and there was sleet. I don't ever want to ever play here again. Hopefully I'll be in the Cal League next year having some fun."

Although much will depend on how he fares next spring, Pineda appears to have put himself in position for a 2011 promotion to Stockton after a strong summer in Burlington. The middle infielder posted a line of .323/.382/.581 in July. In a five-game road trip last month, Pineda posted three multi-hit games while going 9-for-21 with four runs, four RBIs. It would be enough to help him finish his first full season with a .255 batting average in 84 games.

Pineda won't deny that he still has plenty of work to do, but he is content with his entire body of work with the Bees.

"I didn't start the season very well, but made some adjustments with my swing," he said.

"The weather warmed up, which is what I'm used to. But it was more about just continuing to improve. [Hitting coach] Haas [Pratt] and I worked on a lot of different things, whether it's getting through the ball better or getting down on time. It's basically just getting that separation when you hit."

Since he signed late in the process last year, Pineda was not been afforded much development time. He played just four games in Arizona before being called upon in Vancouver for the last month of the season. Pineda posted a combined line of just .211/.336/.294.

Entering the A's instructional league still unsure of himself, Pineda felt he took a step in the right direction during those weeks in Phoenix.

"I signed late and didn't get many games in," Pineda said. "It was just kind of playing games and getting used to pro baseball. It wasn't until instructs that I really got a lot of instruction. I learned a lot that first year and even more in my first full season.

"Definitely I picked up things on defense with the double play, the finer techniques and just things I didn't realize I was doing. Offensively, they taught me some things with the bat that it wasn't until a couple months later that it all made sense what they were talking about."

Despite faring well over two summers in the Cape Cod League, and having the exposure of playing college baseball player in Southern California, Pineda fell to the A's in the 28th-round of last summer's draft.

The 5-11 infielder was still unsure if he would sign or return for his senior year at Cal-State Northridge when he opted to spend last summer playing in Alaska.

"I got drafted later than I thought I was and got turned down by some teams early on," Pineda said.

"I played in the Cape Cod League my first two years in college and got seen a lot out there. [A's Scout] J.T. Stotts and Oakland drafted me and I wasn't sure if I was going to sign so I went to play in Alaska.

"The A's had my rights and the cross-checker came to see me a couple times in Alaska and really helped push my decision to sign. They raised their offer a little bit and I decided to sign. School is important and everything, but I decided over the summer I wanted to start playing pro baseball and get the experience of trying to get to the big leagues as quick as possible."

Pineda won't take part in the A's instructional league this fall, and will continue working on his Bachelor's Degree at UNLV while working out with Rebels' players and coaches.

In anticipation for the 2012 season, Pineda said he would like to bulk up and become a more durable player.

"Definitely I need to put on some weight and get a lot stronger," Pineda said. "I'm pretty strong right now, but I'm only about 170 pounds. If I can get to 185-190, I can hit for some more power and be more explosive. I'm getting on a different training program and diet."

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