Freiman shines with two hits, RBI in MLB debut

Freiman shines with two hits, RBI in MLB debut

OAKLAND -- Nate Freiman was still waiting for it to sink in.

"It hasn't hit me yet that this is the regular season, and these are Major League Baseball games," the rookie said Wednesday afternoon. "These past two nights, I've just felt like a fan with a really good seat."

Freiman was awarded an even better seat just hours later.

Resigned to spectator duties for the A's first two games of the season with as many right-handed opponents on the mound, the 26-year-old made his Major League debut at first base against Mariners lefty Joe Saunders for the third game.

"It's a big day," said Freiman, smiling. "I want to go out there and do what I did that got me here and not try to be someone I'm not. Hopefully we can get the win tonight, because I'd love to be on the field with everyone on a night like this, shaking hands."

The A's did, and Freiman collected two hits and an RBI in the effort.

"He was like a kid in a candy store in batting practice today, let alone in the game," manager Bob Melvin said. "Then you get your first hit and drive in a run and you make a nice play. This is one of those days he'll never forget. I told him before the game, 'The baseball gods will take care of you today.' He had a very nice day."

Claimed by the A's off waivers from the Astros less than two weeks ago, Freiman had not played above the Double-A level before Wednesday. It was there, in San Antonio with the Padres organization, where he posted a .298 average -- including a .336 clip with runners in scoring position -- with 24 home runs, 31 doubles and 105 RBIs in 137 games.

Freiman assumed he would be in Triple-A this year, "but then the Rule 5 Draft kind of changed everything," he said.

He went from the Padres to the Astros and, soon after, was welcomed into the A's organization, where he must remain on the big league roster or be exposed to waivers and offered back to San Diego. He offers Oakland the right-handed complement to Brandon Moss that went missing when Chris Carter was shipped to Houston.

"I'm beyond thrilled to be here right now," said Freiman, who left several tickets for a crowd that included his parents and brother. "I don't think I could possibly be more excited.

"I've definitely had better nights of sleep than last night."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.