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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Choice is in the Oakland Athletics' starting lineup playing center field. It is a nod to the type of spring the outfield prospect has had. Choice, 23, made a big impression at A's camp, hitting .302 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI in 20 games, before being optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
"When you ask for somebody like that, a high profile guy, you want to play him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He'll be out there for the whole nine innings."
With Coco Crisp and Chris Young both due for a day off, Choice got the call. It's late in the spring and the team is getting their starters work, but it allows the A's to reward Choice, who will be starting the season with the River Cats.
"I just look at it as another opportunity to make an impression and just prove that I can play at this level," Choice said.
In his first full professional season Choice led the California League with 30 homers for the Stockton Ports. He was having a respectable 2012 with the Midland RockHounds when an errant pitch fractured his hand and forced him to miss the rest of the season. At the time of the injury, Choice was on a 16-game hitting streak. He got off to a slow start in his second professional season, but hit four homers in the 18 games he played after the Texas League All-Star Break.
"I'm just trying to stay locked into my routine and the hard work I put in this offseason," Choice said. "I'm getting everything prepared to play."
Selected by the A's with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Texas at Arlington, Choice is now one step away from the big leagues.