Burns' memorable day ends with big league debut

Burns' memorable day ends with big league debut

HOUSTON -- Fewer than 300 miles away from Minute Maid Park, where the A's were prepping for a game with the Astros, their newest player was about to get the call of a lifetime in Frisco, Texas. Except Billy Burns thought he might've been traded.

"It could've been Triple-A," Burns said.

More like the Majors.

Burns called his mom. She didn't answer, so he phoned his dad. With outfielder Craig Gentry headed to the disabled list, the A's needed a speedy center fielder to offset such a loss, and Burns was their answer.

The 24-year-old didn't have to wait long to make his Major League debut, arriving at the park in the third inning Monday and entering the game as a pinch-hitter with one out in the ninth, flying out against Astros lefty Tony Sipp.

"I felt OK. Everything was like a fog to me," said Burns, who could make a start in center as soon as Wednesday. "With all the lights in the dome and everything and it just being my first AB, everything was happening really fast, I guess."

Before Burns came into the game, the A's had gone 104 games without using a rookie, which is the longest season-opening streak by a Major League team since the 1971 Orioles went the first 152 games without one.

Burns excelled in a lengthy Spring Training stint with the A's this year, before being optioned to Double-A Midland, where he was hitting .250 with a .333 on-base percentage and 51 stolen bases in 91 games for the RockHounds. He admitted Monday evening, "I don't feel I've done that well," but still hadn't ruled out a trip to The Show this year.

"At the same time," he said, "I definitely wasn't expecting it. It's just something that kind of hit me out of nowhere. I'm happy to be here, honored to be on this team.

"Hopefully I can get on base, make things happen on the basepaths. Really just whatever they want me to do I can do that to the best of my ability, whether it's getting in and bunting or getting in for a pinch hit or trying to steal a base, something like that."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.