Oakland A's MiLB Spring Notebook: March 18th

Wednesday marked the Opening Day of the Oakland A's minor league spring training game schedule. We were on-hand at Papago Park for the A's High-A and Low-A affiliates' games. We have notes from those games inside...

- The star of the day for the A's Low-A and High-A squads was outfielder Shane Keough. He had at least three hits, one of which was a grandslam and another was a two-run double. Keough also singled and threw out a runner at home from left-field. He was timed by one scout as running from the batters box to first in 4.07 seconds. Keough was playing with the A's High-A affiliate. He competed for Low-A Kane County in 2008.

- Outfielder Rashun Dixon inspires awe even from his teammates. One of the A's minor league pitchers who was watching the A's Low-A affiliate play remarked "imagine Dixon with a metal bat" after watching Dixon hit a laser-shot single.

- Tyson Ross got the start for the A's High-A affiliate. He got off to a rough start, allowing three runs and three hits in the first inning. He recovered to pitch a strong second inning, however, striking out two. Anthony Capra got the start for the Low-A team.

- Petey Paramore and Dante Love were both impressive defensively behind the plate. Love made a number of saves on pitches in the dirt, and Paramore did a good job blocking the plate on the play where Keough threw out a runner. Paramore was also involved in a funny play when he himself was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a double from first base. The throw beat Paramore home by a significant amount, so he eased up coming into the plate to avoid an unnecessary collision with the Angels' catcher. While trying to avoid the catcher, he stumbled and wound-up doing a full somersault and landing back on his feet, no worse for wear.

- Speedster Michael Richard stole second base for the A's High-A squad in the first inning of that game.

- James Shull, who has been sidelined for most of the past three seasons with shoulder and elbow injuries, threw for the A's High-A squad on Wednesday. He had good stuff, but he struggled with his location, allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning before the inning was stopped when he reached his pitch limit (minor league spring games are played under flexible rules). Shull appeared to be favoring his right shoulder at the end of his outing and he was speaking with the trainer for some time after he threw.

- Nino Leyja played second base for the A's High-A squad, although A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman was quick to point out that nothing significant should be read into where any of the players are assigned at the moment, as the teams were put together in such a way to ensure that as many players got at-bats in the games as possible.

- Lance Sewell had an impressive first spring inning for the A's High-A squad. The lefty, who uses a very unorthodox throwing motion, faced the minimum, striking out the first batter, then picking off a runner after he reached on a single and then retiring the final batter on a pop-up.

- Steve Kleen, who missed all of last season with an injury, had an RBI double for the A's High-A squad. Greg Dowling also had an RBI double for the High-A squad, a booming shot to straight-away center.

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