Triple-A All-Star Q&A With Daric Barton

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- Oakland A's prospect Daric Barton is currently in Albuquerque, New Mexico as the Sacramento River Cats' representative at the Triple-A All-Star game. Barton is in the middle of an outstanding season for Sacramento. James Venes is at the Triple-A All-Star game and he spoke with Barton about participating in the game, his recent 24-game hitting streak and more...

After an injury-riddled 2006 season, Daric Barton is having an All-Star season in 2007. The Sacramento infielder is batting .321 with 49 RBI and an 888 OPS in 85 games this season. He recently completed a 24-game hitting streak and he batted .454 for the month of June.

Those numbers earned Barton a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which is being held in Albuquerque, NM, this season. James Venes is in New Mexico for the festivities and he caught-up with Barton the day before the big game.

James Venes: How conscious of the hitting streak were you while it was in progress?

Daric Barton: I was well aware of it. The last couple games ... I didn't get a hit until the 15th inning one game. It kind of wore on me a little bit, I kind of got a little over-anxious and worried about it too much, and I was thinking.

JV: Do you find that when you're conscious of it a little more it affects your approach at all, makes it a little bit harder to keep doing the things you're used to doing?

DB: I think so, yeah. Personally, I tried not to let it affect me but it happened and thank God it's over. I wasn't too worried about it and the next day [after the streak ended] I went out and got a couple hits, so it felt fine.

JV: Was it the longest of your career or did you have any longer at any lower levels?

DB: No, that was the only kind of hitting streak I had. In the Midwest League, I think I had an RBI in 11 straight games. That was the only other streak I had. I think I had that 10-game multi-hit streak and the 24-game hit streak, so those were the longest of my career.

JV: You had a slower April and May but really turned it on in June. Were there any adjustments you made?

DB: The biggest adjustment I made was getting my [front] foot down early (when I swing). That's the biggest key for me and being able to see the pitches and being a little bit more selective.

JV: Are you happy to be back playing only first base? [Barton had spent time at third base in May and June.]

DB: It's what it is. I like both positions. I like catching too but I don't do that any more. Third base, it's taking me a while to get used to it. I haven't played it in a few years so that was fun. I love first base too. You're involved in the game quite a bit, so either way I'm fine.

JV: Do you keep an eye on what's going on at the Major League level with the A's or do you really just keep your focus on Sacramento and the AAA level right now?

DB: Yeah, I don't really worry about what's going on up there. I keep track of if they're winning or losing but that's about it. I'm doing what I can in Sacramento so that's what I'm focused on.

JV: What does it mean to make the All-Star team?

DB: It's amazing. It's just an honor to be here, to be named. I started off real slow and I never thought I'd have a chance to make the team. I guess having that decent June helped me out quite a bit. I'm happy to be here, I'm having a lot of fun and I look forward to playing tomorrow.

JV: We found out yesterday that Dan Haren was announced as the starter for the American League in San Francisco. As someone who also came over in the Mark Mulder deal, how does that rate with you?

DB: Oh, Danny Haren's filthy. I've been seeing that ever since he was with St. Louis. He was nasty. Now he's put it all together. He's unbelievable.

He has the lowest ERA or something like that so it's awesome for us to be doing well and I think it's a good trade for the A's and I think they're happy with it.

JV: Did you face him very much in either organization, spring training or anything else?

DB: No, thank God, no. I've never faced him. I'd lose a couple bats if I faced him, throwing the nasty split.

JV: What inspired the mohawk?

DB: Oh man, we were in Iowa one trip and I wasn't doing too hot. I had to shave my head anyway because it was getting long and I was just messing around and left the mohawk, and I got three or four hits the next couple days.

The guys wanted me to keep it and I shaved it off, and when we were going on the plane they yelled at me so I had to grow it back and I had that month of June so I'm keeping it.

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