Versatility, patience key for A’s prospect

Grant Green knows he’s not going to be called up to the big leagues this week. In fact, he doubts he will see major league playing time at any point this season.

But the Sacramento River Cats utility player is confident he eventually will get the nod, and that’s what motivates him to remain positive through the trials and tribulations of minor league baseball.

The Oakland Athletics selected Green, a Fullerton, Calif., native, with the 13th pick in the 2009 draft. The 24-year-old is viewed as a top major league prospect, though the organization hasn’t decided where on the field the 6-foot-3-inch, 180-pounder eventually might play.

“When I was drafted, I think they saw me as a hitting shortstop,” said Green, who was a two-time All-Pac 10 selection at Southern California. “But they put me in the outfield and told me I was never going back to the infield.”

But nothing is certain in minor league ball, and Green was moved back into the infield just more than a week ago. He did not start Tuesday against the 51s but started the first three games of the series in the middle infield.

“Would I like to play just one position? Yes,” said Green, who views himself primarily as a shortstop. “But I also think it’s a good thing to try to learn all these other positions. If one position doesn’t open up, I can play another one.”

River Cats manager Darren Bush explained Green’s journey.

“Grant is playing both” infield and outfield, Bush said. “In the last three games, we’ve moved him to the outfield late in the game. That’s valued, and it gives him flexibility in the organization. As a young player, you want to be able to take advantage of any opportunity. You want to be ready for any spot that opens up.”

Bush demonstrated his confidence in Green in August when he called him up from Double-A Midland to join Sacramento for the postseason. The River Cats defeated Reno in the first round before being swept by Omaha in the championship series. Green batted .333 (9-for-27) in the playoffs.

Green viewed the late move to Triple-A as a compliment but struggled to adapt to a position he never had played.

“The only weird thing was that I was put in right field,” he said. “I had never played there before.”

Green’s point of consistency always has been his bat. He is batting .292 this season, with eight home runs, 12 doubles and 40 RBIs.

“I’d say he’s on the right track,” Bush said. “He’s very athletic and talented. There are parts of his game he needs to improve, and he’s working on them every day.”

Green said he doesn’t worry about a potential call-up from the A’s. In fact, he admitted he’s not quite ready.

“I’ve got to get more consistent with the glove, whether it’s in the infield or the outfield,” he said. “I still have a ton of work to do on defense.”

Though Green does not see himself moving up this year, he remains excited about his prospects for the future.

“If I don’t get called up, oh well,” he said. “I know it’s going to come. It’s just a matter of when. When it does happen, it’s going to be a dream come true.”

■ NOTES – Veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer, who signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on Monday, is expected to make two starts for the 51s. Moyer, 49, began the season with the Colorado Rockies, where he went 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts. He then went to the Baltimore Orioles organization before landing with Toronto, which will give Moyer two starts before determining whether to promote or release him.

Also, 51s catcher Travis d’Arnaud is expected to miss six to eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his left knee while sliding into second base during Monday’s 9-8 loss to Sacramento. Team doctor Bernard Ong said the 23-year-old d’Arnaud will undergo several weeks of nonsurgical rehabilitation.

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