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Petit happy, excited to be with A's

Petit happy, excited to be with A's

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OAKLAND -- Gregorio Petit roamed the A's home clubhouse for the first time Monday, curious of the big league aura he had imagined all his life. He wandered to check in on the daily chess match of pitchers Andrew Brown and Huston Street before going back to his locker, looking like a little kid taking a rest break at Disneyland.

The 23-year-old sat down and began to speak about his Major League debut before the words "starting again today" reached his ears and left him tongue-tied.

"Am I in the lineup?" Petit eagerly asked as he tried to catch a glance at the lineup card from a distance. "Really?"

When assured of his name printed in the second-base slot for the second night in a row, Petit's already big smile widened.

"This is so awesome," he said. "I'm just trying to keep enjoying this moment."

The rookie, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday with Mark Ellis sitting out with a strained left hamstring, made his Major League debut Sunday in Atlanta, going 2-for-3 with a walk. After singling in the fourth inning for his first big league hit, Petit added a double to his memorable night.

"It felt so good to be out there," he said. "I was so happy for the opportunity, and then also for the ending results getting those hits."

The Venezuela native was added to the A's 40-man roster following the 2007 season after hitting .274 with 51 stolen bases over six seasons in the Minors. Manager Bob Geren said he was impressed with Petit's performance during Spring Training, and the rookie made sure to take in every piece of advice.

"After Spring Training when I was assigned to Triple-A, I didn't get upset," Petit said. "I did what I needed to do there."

It's hard to think what would make the youngster upset these days, as he expresses nothing but appreciation for the team that signed him as a non-drafted free agent in 2001.

"Oh my goodness," he said. "This is something you dream about as a kid, and I still can't believe I'm here doing this."

There's not much Petit didn't do to impress the folks in Sacramento, where he was batting .304 with 15 RBIs through 37 games as the River Cats' shortstop. He was leading the team in hits and doubles, and his batting average was sixth-best in the A's farm system.

"I wasn't able to watch him much in Spring Training," Ellis said, "but I know he's got the talent and he did very well yesterday.

"Without a doubt, this is definitely a good opportunity for him."

Petit calls this opportunity a gift -- no matter where he's playing. With Ellis close to returning to the lineup, he knows he could be sent back down to Sacramento at any second, but that's just fine by him.

"If I'm sent down, I don't really care," he said. "It's just always about believing in the moment and the dream.

"Right now, I'm appreciating the call up here. It's a gift not everyone can get."

Petit can only think of one thing that would make his moments in an Oakland A's uniform that much sweeter.

"All of my family is in Venezuela," he said, "and I wish they could watch me play."

However, Petit is sure they will get that chance soon -- once visa problems disappear.

"They're in my hearts," he said, "and I know they're thinking about me every day I'm out there on the field."

Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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