A's peterson Breaks Through With New Approach

OAKLAND—From the time Shane Peterson signed a professional contract, he thought that learning to hit home runs would be his key to reaching the majors. About a year ago, that all changed.

"In the past, as a corner outfielder and first baseman, I tried to get more power into my game, and it took away from what I was trying to be," Peterson said. "Now, I'm just trying to get my barrel to the ball a little more consistently. I'm just trying not to do too much. For me, when I put the barrel on the ball, I'm going to have more home runs and more base hits."

He quit worrying about homers and focused on the small stuff. The result was a breakthrough year in 2012, hitting .389/.484/.618 with seven homers in 131 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento. This led to the 24-year-old, who came to the A's in the Matt Holliday deal in 2009, being placed on the A's 40-man roster this offseason, which means a trip to big league spring training to show his worth.

Peterson's plan almost fell apart early in the season at Double-A Midland when he badly sprained his right ankle and spent more than a month on the disabled list. Even when he returned, the aching ankle prohibited him from becoming the basestealer he had planned to be. He hit .274/.441/.420 in 157 at-bats for the RockHounds before moving up to Triple-A on July 2, when the River Cats needed another outfielder.

Then the onslaught began. The 6-foot, 195-pound lefthanded hitter plays all three outfield spots plus first base, and the A's consider him highly proficient on the corners.

"He's had disappointments and bounced back every time," A's farm director Keith Lieppman said of Peterson, who will turn 24 before Opening Day. "He hasn't let anything stop him."

With the A's abundance of outfielders, Peterson will probably start in Triple-A, showing he deserves a shot at the majors. He has put himself in a position to get an opportunity, and he can only see what happens next.

A's Acorns

• Thomas Shea, 34, the A's assistant strength and conditioning coordinator at their Arizona facility, died in his sleep on New Year's Eve. The cause of death was not immediately known.

• The A's named former minor leaguer Lloyd Turner as a coach for their short-season Vermont affiliate. They also added Carlos Chavez as a pitching coach for their Arizona program. Chavez played in the A's system and has coached in Mexico.