Though neither player has a very good shot at making the 25-man roster when the Athletics open up the regular season, outfielders Michael Choice and Shane Peterson have the potential to leave a lasting impression if their early performances are any indication.
Choice, a 23-year-old who reached Double-A for the first time last year, is hitting .550 in the eight games in which he has appeared. Of his 11 hits, four have gone for extra-bases.
Peterson, a 25-year-old who posted a .970 OPS between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento last year, is hitting .429 in his nine games. Of his nine hits, five are doubles and one is a home run.
Choice is unlikely to make the cut simply because he has yet to reach Triple-A, and the jump from Double-A to the Majors is cavernous. With the A’s outfield already packed between Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and Chris Young, there isn’t much room for Peterson. He could play first base, but the similarly left-handed Brandon Moss, who hit .291 with 21 home runs last year, is already slated at the position. At designated hitter, the left-handed Smith is expected to get the lion’s share of at-bats.
The game of baseball is very unpredictable, so at the very least, both players are setting themselves up for potential promotions in the event of an injury or trade.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.