Sports


Stanford's Michael Taylor makes his debut with the Oakland A's

 

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

The first thing Stanford grad Michael Taylor thought about when he took his place in right field Friday night concerned the weather.

"The wind was blowing kind of hard and it was kind of chilly," he said after helping the Oakland A's beat the Seattle Mariners, 9-2. "I was concerned how the ball might react. It acts differently in different parks."

So, what happens on his first major league chance? The ball bounces crazily and gets by him. His first major league error.

"That first play was unfortunate," he said. "I need to get used to the ground here. It's fast and choppy."

Taylor was 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout at the plate, and handled two other chances in the outfield flawlessly.

"He looks like a threat when he's up there," A's manager Bob Melvin, a M-A grad, said. "It was a little bit of a rough start with the ball in the outfield but he didn't let that affect him."

Taylor became Stanford's 88th Major League player when he joined the A's and was inserted into the lineup in right field and batted ninth.

"I took some pretty good swings," Taylor said. "After the first pitch or two it felt like baseball again. In the great scheme of things I enjoyed everything about the day."

Taylor was joined at his debut by his parents and girlfriend. He wasn't aware if anyone from Stanford was in attendance.

"I'm old," he quipped. "Everybody I know is working."

Melvin said David DeJesus would return to right field on Saturday but Taylor would start again in Sunday's series finale.

The first team All-Pac-10 pick in 2007, Taylor hit .296 over five minor league seasons, spending the past two years at Triple-A Sacramento after being traded from the Phillies, who made him a fifth-round pick.

Interestingly enough, Stanford grad John Mayberry, Jr. drove in three runs with a homer and a sacrifice fly Friday, and Philadelphia climbed 42 games above .500 for the first time in the franchise's 129-year history.

Mayberry hit a two-run homer, his 13th, to put Philadelphia ahead to stay in the fifth inning. He added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Mayberry began his professional career with the Texas Rangers' organization, a rival of the A's in the AL West.

Taylor was hitting .272 with 16 homers and 64 RBI at the time of his call-up.

In his first full minor league season in 2008, he hit .346 across Single-A with a .361 average for Low-A Lakewood with 50 RBI and 10 homers and .329 for High-A Clearwater.

Taylor ended his Stanford career in 2007 after hitting .316 with 21 homers, 126 RBI and scoring 80 runs over 174 games. He started 140 consecutive games at one point, primarily in right field.

Since 1958, Stanford has had at least one player in the majors, the seventh-longest streak in collegiate baseball. In Mark Marquess' 35-year run as head coach, 46 of his 55 major league players have earned their degrees.

Taylor is one of 10 former Cardinal players in the majors this season, joining Sam Fuld (Rays), Jeremy Guthrie (Orioles), Jed Lowrie (Red Sox), Donny Lucy (White Sox), Mayberry, Jr., Cord Phelps (Indians), Greg Reynolds (Rockies), Carlos Quentin (White Sox) and Drew Storen (Nationals).

In addition, Cardinal grads Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Kenny Williams are general managers, while players Jason Castro, Chris Carter and John Hester have appeared in the major leagues and are still currently on their teams' 40-man roster.

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