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Taylor relieved to receive his big league call

Taylor relieved to receive his big league call

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Taylor relieved to receive his big league call
OAKLAND -- As far as practical jokes go, it was probably the best to which Michael Taylor had ever fell victim. Shortly after hitting a home run in Thursday night's 7-1 victory for the Triple-A Sacramento Rivercats, Taylor was called into the office of hitting coach Todd Steverson.

Then, both went to the office of manager Darren Bush, who told Taylor he was being sent to the Arizona Fall League, hardly the place a Triple-A prospect would like to go. But Bush was merely joking, as he told Taylor he would be heading to Oakland instead to make his big league debut.

"That's kind of how he sprung it on me," Taylor said. "It was really cool. I gave everyone a hug, walked out and celebrated with my teammates for a little bit. Then, I just kind of scrambled around like a chicken with my head cut off for like 20 minutes just trying to figure out what to do."

Once Taylor found his bearings, the first person he called was his father, who was fast asleep in Orlando, Fla., when his son called at about 1:30 a.m. ET. Thanks to the early-morning wake up call, Taylor's parents were able to find a flight in time to make it to Friday's game against the Mariners, where Taylor batted ninth and started in right field.

Taylor received an unceremonious introduction to the bigs, as he committed a two-base error on the game's first at-bat. Seattle leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki delivered a solid hit to right field, but Taylor couldn't handle it and Suzuki ended up at third before scoring the game's first run.

The A's went on to a 9-2 win in the series opener.

At the plate, Taylor said he felt comfortable after seeing the first couple of pitches during his initial at-bat in the bottom of the third inning. He finished 0-for-3 with two flyouts and a strikeout, but reached base with a seventh-inning walk.

"As the game went on, I got comfortable, saw some more pitches, went deep into some counts," Taylor said. "And I didn't strike out a bunch, I'll take that. That's a good start."

The 25-year-old outfielder has been knocking on the door to Oakland for the past couple of seasons. In 93 games with Sacramento this year, Taylor batted .272 with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs. Taylor played at each of the three outfield positions this season, but said he feels most comfortable in right or left field.

Taylor joined the Oakland organization following the 2009 season as part of the three-team deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee to Seattle. Taylor fell into an extended slump at the beginning of last season in Sacramento, but was able to rebound this year.

"It's been a feeling of semi-relief, but more vindication for all the sacrifices I've made to do this, to get to this point," Taylor said. "Last year was tough, but I learned and grew from that. I think I'm more prepared now than I would have been last year."

Taylor wasn't the only player to receive his first big league callup on Friday, as right-handed reliever Andrew Carignan was also promoted to Oakland from Sacramento. It marks the fourth different level of the A's organization Carignan has played for this year, as he started in Class A Advanced Stockton before moving up through Double-A Midland and Sacramento.

Carignan finished Friday's win with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit.

Since undergoing surgery in January 2010 to remove bone spurs and loose bodies from his elbow, Carignan said it's been a lengthy process to get back to his old form. Carignan sported a 1.85 ERA in 33 Minor League appearances this year.

"I am surprised," Carignan said. "But at the same time, I was pretty close before I got hurt. As long as it's been since I have been healthy, I knew that once I did get healthy that this was definitely in the cards, that this could possibly happen. ... Best day of my life."

Taylor knows a thing or two about overcoming hardships. At the age of 10, Taylor was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an illness he still deals with today.

"I have at-bats where I'm low," Taylor said. "I've had a couple this year where things with your body go awry, but I try to minimize that and cut it down. ... Some days you don't feel that great, but that's everyone, that's every job."

As for his plans in the offseason, Taylor said he has been approached by teams in the Venezuelan and Dominican winter leagues. But Taylor said he hasn't had a true offseason since he turned pro, and that he would like to take some time to relax and be with his family.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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