OAKLAND -- Oakland Athletics coaches knew very little about Shane Peterson before spring training. Of all the players in A's camp, Peterson made the strongest impression. The Southern California native played all over the outfield in Arizona and hit .408.
With the team's excess outfield depth, he was sent to Triple-A Sacramento to start the season. He was batting.410 with five doubles and seven RBI in 11 games with the River Cats when he was called up to fill in for Brandon Moss, who went on the paternity list.
His two-day taste of big league life proved to be an experience he will never forget.
In his second big league start, Peterson collected his first career RBI in the first inning with a bases loaded walk, and his first hit in the fourth inning.
"It felt like forever getting that first one out of the way," Peterson said. "As I was rounding first base I felt like I hit a grand slam and it was a single up the middle. It was good, it was exciting, a good weight off my shoulders."
After the hit, the Astros threw the ball back to the A's dugout so that Peterson could keep it. Jed Lowrie scooped up the ball and promptly acted like he was throwing it into the crowd in a typical rookie hazing procedure. That was just the beginning of the antics. He was also delivered a fake ball after the game by his teammates.
"They spelled everything wrong, wrote the wrong pitcher, colored it a little bit," Peterson said.
After some good natured ribbing, he eventually got the real ball.
A's manager Bob Melvin was impressed with Peterson's performance. He played capable defense at first base after only starting one game there in Triple-A this season. Peterson's versatility will make him an attractive option for the A's down the road if a spot opens up.
Derek Norris left the game after the seventh inning. He was hit in the face by a foul ball. After his x-rays came back negative, Norris said it hurt a little bit, but claimed that's just part of the job. He expects to be ready to go on Friday.
"I took an x-ray and nothing is wrong, we'll see how it is in Tampa," Norris said. "I'll always be ready to play."
Norris was taken out for precautionary reasons because they didn't want to risk him getting hit by another foul ball.
It's was Lowrie's birthday on Wednesday. Displayed on the white board in the clubhouse was an elaborate multi-colored birthday message for the A's shortstop. It was drawn by one of the A's clubhouse assistants. As part of the artistic design, there were a bunch of eights, which is his jersey number. Melvin walked by, glanced at the white board, and joked that he didn't know Lowrie was turning eight.
Lowrie celebrated his birthday by going 2 for 3 with his seventh double. He is tied for the American League lead in that category.
The A's played another three-plus hour game on Wednesday. The last 12 games have been three hours or more, which is tied for the longest streak in Oakland history.