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The 10th player selected in the 1984 draft, he has the strength in his arms and hands to hit the ball out of the park when he is fooled by a pitch. McGwire is fooled less frequently now that he has tightened his swing and learned to cover the inside of the plate. He progressed faster last season than the A's expected (.312-23-112, 36 doubles at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Tacoma), making superb contact (112 strikeouts) for a man of his size. And three of his 10 hits in the big leagues were home runs. McGwire, though, probably isn't ready for the varsity. Even though he bats righthanded, he has some difficulty with lefthanded pitching. And the A's aren't ready to trust him at third base, where he made 47 errors last season, including six in 16 big league games. A first baseman and pitcher at Southern Cal, he was switched to third base after signing with the A's. They remain convinced that he has the agility and reactions to play third, blaming his mistakes on lapses in concentration.