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.

A's Acorns

• The A's made an unusual move by promoting 2012 first-rounder Addison Russell 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 down.