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Hot Aliotti part of Midland's triple play
A's infield prospect boosts Texas League's top average to .358
06/23/2013 6:41 PM ET
Anthony Aliotti has already tied his last year homer total.
Anthony Aliotti has already tied his last year homer total. (Manabu Beppu/Midland RockHounds)

Anthony Aliotti got to be part of two of his favorite things in baseball Sunday.

"We get excited whenever we get a triple play," Aliotti said. "It feels almost like winning the game, it's so exciting."

The Oakland's first-base prospect helped Double-A Midland turn three and get a victory as the RockHounds beat the San Antonio Missions, 14-3. Aliotti went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Athletics' No. 18 prospect Drew Granier won his Double-A debut with Midland, allowing a run on four hits and a walk while striking out four over seven innings. He surrendered the run in the first inning, and the RockHounds had scored four by the time he gave up a single to Everett Williams and a walk to A.J. Kirby-Jones to start the fifth.

"We'd been down a little, then we had a big inning," Aliotti said. "When [the fifth] started with a single and a walk, we said, 'All right, let's try to get out of this.'"

Granier got catcher Rocky Gale to bounce his second pitch on the left side of the infield.

"With the ground ball to third, you immediately think of a triple play," Aliotti said.

Vinnie Catricala, the A's 16th-ranked prospect, scooped up the ball, tagged third and fired to Darwin Perez. The second baseman then relayed the ball to Aliotti.

"They had their fastest runner on second, so with the ground ball to third, we knew we were going to have their speed on the basepaths taken care of," Aliotti said. "After it got to second, I knew they had time to get it to me."

Catricala was traded from the Mariners for a player to be named later and cash considerations on June 9, and Aliotti has admired the way he's handled the hot corner on his new team.

"It's been awesome. He's a great guy and a good teammate -- a [heck] of a player. He's able to drive runs in, and he's a solid glove at third," Aliotti said. "I've played against him in the past, and he's always been a solid player. He's a solid guy too."

Aliotti was selected out of St. Mary's College by the A's in the 15th round of the 2009 Draft. He's repeating Double-A -- he was part of a triple play in a Midland loss last Aug. 11 -- after hitting .292 with 10 homers and 29 doubles last year.

This season, his numbers tell a different story. He leads the league with a .358 batting average and already has 10 roundtrippers and 25 two-base hits.

"I've had a much more consistent approach. I've been swinging at pitches I can handle in the zone and getting good counts," Aliotti said. "I've been really working to stay in the zone and get a pitch to do damage with. Last year, I was more lenient and also tried to hit pitches in the zone that I wasn't really accustomed to hitting."

Sunday's two-hit performance was a case in point, mostly. He singled off Padres' No. 20 prospect Matt Andriese (8-2) to plate a run in the third and poked a grounder through the right side in an eighth-inning at-bat against Kirby-Jones, who started the game as the DH but took to the hill when the score was 10-1.

"The first guy does a very good job [at making hitters chase], but I waited for a pitch to hit and got one," Aliotti said. "The second [hit] was a little dribbler, but, hey, those count, right?"

The 25-year-old lefty admitted to being aware his performance this year is likely to garner attention.

"I try not to think about that too much. It's always in the back of your head, but I just take it day by day," he said. "I go out there and have fun and try to produce for the team. It's always good to be on someone's radar, and the more teams that want you, the better."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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