Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Lloyd Turner, UT

With the Sacramento River Cats roster decimated by injuries, the team has needed as much versatility from its players as possible. Utilityman Lloyd Turner, who was promoted from High-A Stockton in mid-April, has provided the River Cats that depth off of the bench. We spoke to the versatile Turner on Sunday before Sacramento's game versus Tucson.

Lloyd Turner has played just about everywhere since being drafted by the Oakland A's in 2002. From an affiliate stand-point, Turner has logged time at Vancouver, Kane County, Modesto, Stockton, Midland and now Sacramento. From a position stand-point, Turner has played all over the infield, in the outfield and even had one appearance on the mound last season.

That versatility has made Turner a valuable player in the A's system, especially this season. The Sacramento River Cats have only one outfielder on the active roster from the Opening Day roster (Hiram Bocachica), as Brian Stavisky is on the DL and Charles Thomas has been traded to Milwaukee. In addition, the River Cats recently lost shortstop Donnie Murphy to the disabled list, a development which has further depleted the team's outfield corps, as Murphy's injury has forced J.J. Furmaniak back into the infield full-time. Furmaniak had been seeing time in the outfield, as well as at short and second.

Turner was called upon by the A's to give the River Cats some needed outfield depth back in mid-April. Since that time, Turner, who had been with High-A Stockton before the promotion, has been the River Cats' primary late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement, as well as a spot starter. He has scored three runs, driven-in three, walked four times and stolen a base in 19 plate appearances spread over 15 games. Two of those runs scored came in the River Cats' 11-inning comeback win over Las Vegas on the road on April 30.

This is Turner's first appearance in Triple-A after four full seasons volleying between various levels of A-ball and Double-A. Last season, Turner split the campaign between Midland and Stockton and despite batting only .207, he was one of only a handful of players in the A's organization to have double-digit homeruns (13) and stolen bases (13). The Kennesaw State alum has 64 career stolen bases, including a career-high 27 in 2004 for Modesto, where he helped the Little A's win a California League title.

We spoke with Turner before the start of the River Cats' game with Tucson on Sunday.

OaklandClubhouse: How has Triple-A been treating you since you were promoted?

Lloyd Turner: Pretty good. I haven't been playing that much, but at the same time, I have been learning from a great group of guys that we have here on our team, which has just been awesome.

I have really learned a lot about how to play the right way because they have been playing the game a lot longer, some of them anyway. You are just one step away [from the major leagues] here, so you just never know what will happen. I'm just really happy to be here.

OC: You have played a number of different positions in your career. Is there a position you feel most comfortable at at this point?

LT: When I was first drafted, I was drafted as an infielder, a second baseman. Ever since then, they have been throwing me out there at different positions, so now I am in my fifth full year and I'm just really comfortable now playing anywhere. As long as they don't put me behind the plate or on the mound, I'm good. [laughing]

OC: You've been doing a lot of pinch-running lately. Is there an art to that? Is it something where you study the pitchers from the bench before you come in

LT: I'm not the fastest man in the world, but knowing that I can run a little bit, I try to use that to my advantage at the end of games. I know that when [Sacramento manager Tony DeFrancesco] puts me in the game, it is usually a key situation in the game, so I am really focused on not getting thrown out.

I make sure that I stay head's up on certain things and look for any edge I can get to take the next base. I am always looking to advance at least one base, especially when the game is on the line.

OC: You've been involved in a few late inning or extra-inning comebacks since you came to Sacramento. What is it like to play in those tight situations, especially in extra-innings?

LT: Well, first of all, it is has been a long game so guys are tired and they really want to get out of there with a win. Like I said, it is really just a matter of being ready and keeping my legs loose throughout the game, so that when they do call on me, I'm ready to go. Fortunately, it has panned out so far. I'm just here to make a difference and help the team and play baseball.

OC: Has it been a big difference between the Pacific Coast League and the California League in terms of the different cities that you have been going to and so forth?

LT: Oh, for sure. Actually, my first two road-trips in this league were to Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Those are pretty nice places to go to.

You don't want to go out and do too much and not be ready for the next day because you do play every day and that can wear on your body as well, but those are great places to go. There are some nice places to go in A-ball, but not quite as large as being in Triple-A.

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