Phoenix, Peoria and ASU

Sorry I missed a day there, but I didn’t get back from my night foray into college baseball until late on Friday night.

So here’s my final post from Arizona before returning home to the Burgh. It’s been a long — and productive — week. My last two stops on this part of the tour (I’ll be back in Zona near the end of March) were Phoenix and Peoria. In the A’s clubhouse, I got to talk catching with Kurt Suzuki, pitching with Shane Komine and moving through the system as an outfielder with Danny Putnam. All in all, a nice take for a guy on the prowl with a microphone.

That night, I took a break from the world of professional baseball and headed to Tempe for a Friday night tilt between ASU and Auburn. Both schools are very young and don’t have much in the way of expecations this year, but my real reason for going is what’s going to be the next in our "Back to School" series. First came the Indians’ Justin Hoyman at a University of Florida game, courtesy of Kevin Czerwinski. Friday night, I attended the game with A’s outfielder (and 1st round pick last year from ASU) Travis Buck. A good time was had by all. And let me tell you — freshman Ike Davis can flat out swing the stick. He’s also a left-handed pitcher. He didn’t start this game because he had gone earlier in the week, but he did hit a grand slam about 450 feet through a palm tree well over the right-center field fence. Look for the story on Monday. (Quick culinary suggestion: try the chile relleno at Z’Tegas in Tempe. Good stuff)

Saturday morning, my last trip for the week, was to beautiful Peoria to see the Mariners. They’ve got an outstanding catcher’s row in the clubhouse, with Rene Rivera, Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson all lined up. A ‘B’ Game doesn’t excite most, but for a  prospect geek, it’s good fun. Here’s a nice tidbit: Matt Tuisasopo was playing third…a much more likely home for him than shortstop in the future.

Well, that’s all she wrote for this week. I’ll check in periodically and will be back in Arizona in a few weeks.

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