Miles Head is on a mission to get back where he was. Not to the Boston Red Sox organization -- Head is happy with his trade to Oakland last year. At this early stage in the season, the corner infield prospect is trying to return to the mental state that helped lift him to the top of the offensive charts in 2012.
After leading all Oakland Minor Leaguers with a .333 average and 84 RBIs last year, Head began the week at just .185 for the Midland RockHounds, where he wrapped up last season after tearing through the California League in 67 games with Stockton.
"When I get a little out of whack, my swing gets a little long," said Head, who had 16 strikeouts and one walk in his first 15 contests. "I've got to constantly remind myself to go in there and not try to do too much, stay short to the ball and try to put a barrel on it. The big flies are going to come."
Head's self-analysis jibes with scouts, who saw Head's tendency to be overly aggressive after his promotion to Midland last year. Head, who was second in the A's system with 23 homers in 2012, batted .382 with 18 of his home runs in the California League and hit .272 after he arrived in the Texas League.
"Guys are more consistent," Head said of Double-A. "You don't see as many missed pitches, I would say. I mean 3-0, 3-1, 2-1, 2-0, you're not going to get your cookie right there that you necessarily got when you were in A-ball."
Even with Head's bat quiet, Midland, which opened the season on a five-game winning streak, has been able to hang with Frisco at the top of the South Division in the early going.
"It all starts with our pitching staff," Head said. "It's a lot easier to play the game when you go out on defense for five minutes and you're in there hitting."
Head came to Oakland in the offseason last year as part of the trade that sent big leaguer Andrew Bailey to Boston. The Red Sox also shipped Josh Reddick and Raul Alcantara to Oakland.
The A's moved Head from first to third, his high school position in Georgia, and he responded with a big year.
"First impressions are everything here," he said. "You come out here, first season, new organization, new staff -- I wanted to impress them, and I felt like I did that."
Looking to re-create last year's success, Head is also trying not to over-think but instead let himself fall into that exalted state hitters experience when things are going well.
"I would say total tranquility," Head said. "I'm not thinking about anything. I'm in there, see ball, hit ball. I've had times where I hit a pitch, tough pitch, 1-2, and I came back in the dugout and the coach was like, 'Hey, what pitch did you have?' And I'm like, 'I don't know.' … I think all guys would agree when you're going good, you're really not thinking about it. You're just in the box."
Multiple Missions: After scoring a total of three runs in a three-game losing streak, San Antonio broke out in a big way Friday, getting 13 hits to beat Midland, 10-0, at Wolff Stadium. Four different players had multi-hit games for the Missions. Jake Blackwood led the charge with his first four-hit game since last June, also against the RockHounds.
Staff shutdown: Frisco held Corpus Christi to just four hits Saturday, but one was a seventh-inning homer by George Springer that made the difference in the 1-0 pitchers' duel. Hooks hurlers Dave Martinez and Asher Wojciechowski held the RoughRiders to two hits as Wojciechowski, yet to give up a run in 18 innings, earned the win in relief.
Extra effort: In extra innings for the first time this year, Springfield responded with a two-run 10th to beat Arkansas, 3-1, and take its second consecutive series victory Sunday. Center fielder Tommy Pham broke the 1-1 tie with a bases-loaded single, and designated hitter Ruben Gotay followed with an RBI groundout for the defending champion Cardinals as closer Michael Blazek notched his third save.