"He always wants to talk about [that night's] game, so we were doing that for a while," Conrad, 28, said before the opener of a three-game series against the host Rays at Tropicana Field. "Then I said, 'Oh yeah, they made a move. ... I'm going up to the big leagues.' He said, 'Wait. What?? You knew that the whole time?'
"It was a neat phone call."
Conrad, who was an eighth-round pick of the Astros out of Arizona State in 2001, signed as a six-year Minor League free agent with the A's in December and opened some eyes with a strong spring, earning a trip to Toyko for Oakland's season-opening series against the Red Sox.
He was inactive for the games against Boston and opened the season with Sacramento, where he was batting .242 with a .321 on-base percentage, 21 doubles, 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 93 games for the River Cats.
"Obviously we're trying to get a little more run production," said A's manager Bob Geren, whose club scored a total of five runs in its first three games after the All-Star break while being swept at Yankee Stadium.
A switch-hitter who can play all over the infield and also saw some time in the outfield at Sacramento, Conrad started at third base Monday night.
"[Conrad has] got some home run power and can play a lot of different positions," Geren said. "And I love to see guys like him who battled so hard [to make it]."
Conrad flew to South Florida with his wife, Jessie, and infant son, Jaxon, on Sunday and also got word to his parents in time for them to make it out from San Diego for their son's debut.
"It's been a roller coaster," Conrad said, "but I'm just floating right now."