Choice's Season Of Adjustments Cut Short
OAKLAND—Forget the numbers and make the adjustments.
That was the plan, and Michael Choice
recognized he had to make some big changes in his swing if he wanted to get to the majors.
"He had so many pieces to his swing," farm director Keith Lieppman said.
As he prepared to hit, Choice, 22, would bounce his bat on his shoulder
and waggle it, cock his knee and step. It prevented Choice from being
prepared to hit against tough pitchers, so the A's advised him that he
needed to make changes as he joined Double-A Midland. They told him to
ignore the results and follow the plan.
"I'd been working on some mechanical things, like where my feet were
placed," Choice said. "I tried to close off my stance a little bit. It
helped me get to the inside fastball better. I quieted my hands and try
to keep my hands as still as possible."
After a difficult beginning, the changes started feeling natural. With
his improved mechanics, the outfielder went on a tear. He was on a
16-game hitting streak when his season ended with a broken left hand on
July 21, when he was hit by a pitch. He finished the season hitting
.287/.356/.423 with 10 home runs and 58 RBIs in 359 at-bats, one year
after hitting .285/.376/.542 with 30 homers with high Class A Stockton.
"He worked very hard with (the A's hitting coaches), embracing some new
ideas," Lieppman said. "He trusted the information about simplifying his
swing and got to the point where he understood that was more important
than the numbers."
Choice, the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft, said the broken hand
should be healed in four to six weeks.. He will certainly be at full
strength for spring training, and the A's are hopeful he may heal in
time for the Arizona Fall League, but Choice has big plans for October,
when he is to wed his fiance, Jade Marie, an Oregonian he met while
playing rookie ball.
• The A's made an unusual move by promoting 2012 first-rounder Addison
from the Rookie-level Arizona League to short-season Vermont
after just 26 games. The A's usually prefer to keep high school players
in Arizona, but Russell, a shortstop, quickly outgrew the league,
hitting .406/.479/.708 with six homers and 29 RBIs.
• Midland third baseman Miles Head
sustained a concussion that kept him
off the field for nine days. Head got off to a big start with Stockton,
then was beginning to adjust to Double-A when the injury slowed him