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Gettin' Ziggy With It (Season 2, Vol. 5)

Hey, everyone! What an exciting month it’s been since I’ve been in Oakland. It’s been such a whirlwind of emotion, as well as a drastic increase in appointments and other things to do over the course of my day-in, day-out schedule. I’ve had a blast getting to pitch against hitters I’ve grown up watching, as well as playing alongside them. And it’s been great getting to share the experience with my family, friends, and the many ANers who’ve come out to the park to introduce themselves.

One of the big highlights for me so far came pretty early in the month. On Sunday, June 8th, I was called on to pitch in the 11th inning of a tie game against the Angels. They had runners at 1st and 2nd with one out, and Garrett Anderson was coming up. I coaxed him into a soft liner to short, and Gregorio Petit snagged it and flipped the ball to Mark Ellis to double the runner off 2nd and end the inning. After we failed to score in the bottom half, I went back out for the 12th, and promptly walked Vladimir Guerrero to lead off the inning. Torii Hunter then grounded into a fielder’s choice, and the Casey Kotchman followed with a groundball to short that we turned into a double play. Then came the exciting part…

With 2 outs in the bottom of the inning, we loaded the bases for Mark Ellis. He smashed the first pitch he saw from Chris Bootcheck off the left-field foul pole for a walk-off grand slam, giving us a big victory and allowing me to earn my first win as a big leaguer. What a way to get it…

Since then, I’ve pitched in a variety of game situations…including a mop-up inning in a blowout loss to the Giants and coming into a tie game in the 6th inning against the 1st-place Angels. One thing that’s been nice so far is the amount of home games we’ve had. We were on the road for 8 games in June, including 3 games in San Francisco. So we essentially had 5 road games all month, which allowed me to get settled in and learn some of the ropes while being in the comfort of the same bed night after night. That, however, is about to change quickly, as we’re about to embark on a stretch of several road trips over the next couple months.

A second highlight is being mentioned in the insider blogs of Peter Gammons (May 31 & June 27)and Buster Olney. I'm pretty sure I don't deserve the media attention I've received so far, but it's still fun to see.

One more highlight I’d like to mention was the opportunity to catch up with an old college teammate: Ryan Howard of the Phillies. While I didn’t get to pitch in the series, I got to visit with Ryan several times, get a photo with him (click Howard and Me to view the photo), and got to share the spotlight with him in an article written by Jane Lee for I’m glad I was able to be around for a series against the Phillies (the team that originally drafted me and released me less than a year later).

It will be a very intriguing month of July, as the front office and coaching staff will have to decide if we’re going to make a run at the playoffs and possibly acquire a player as the trade deadline approaches or if we are still committed to rebuilding and possibly trade some of our established players for more prospects. Of course, maybe neither will happen and they will let us run with the team we have and see what happens. It’s a very interesting situation, and it’s fun to be right in the thick of everything.

2008 MLB Stats: 1-0, 0 SV, 0.00 ERA, 14 G, 15 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 K, 2 BB

2008 AAA Stats: 2-0, 8 SV, 0.37 ERA, 19 G, 24.1 IP, 15 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 20 K, 4 BB

The last couple days have given us tough losses against the Angels in Anaheim, but we’re now in Chicago to hopefully bounce back and get a big series win against the AL-Central-leading White Sox. Tonight we send Justin Duchscherer to the mound in his last start before he’s hopefully named to the AL All-Star team. He’s been lights-out since I’ve arrived (hasn’t allowed more than 1 run in any start since I’ve been here), and his numbers show that he’s been lights-out all season long, holding a relatively large lead on every other big-league pitcher in ERA. Enjoy the weekend! See ya at the ballpark!