Wallace makes River Cats' debut

Newly acquired A's prospect goes 2-for-6 in marathon win

Brett Wallace was Oakland's prize acquisition in Friday's deal for Matt Holliday. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By Mason Kelley / Special to MLB.com | July 25, 2009 11:38 PM ET

When Brett Wallace put on his red Futures Game jersey and stepped onto the Busch Stadium turf two weeks ago, he thought he might be catching a glimpse of his future.

He started at third base in a uniform that closely resembled the one he would he wear once he cracked the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup.

Then he woke up a few days ago and visions of a future in red and white morphed into shades of green and gold. He saw his name on ESPN, rumored to be a prize piece in a potential deal between Oakland and St. Louis that would send the 22-year-old back home.

Wallace couldn't help but get excited about a future playing for the team he grew up celebrating as a child in Sonoma, Calif. Once the trade was finalized Friday, sending outfielder Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for Wallace, right-hander Clayton Mortensen and outfielder Shane Peterson, he celebrated.

"It's a dream come true," he said. "I've always wanted to play for the Oakland A's, so once I got here and got into the clubhouse and met the team and actually got to put my jersey on and go out and play a game with this organization was pretty awesome."

Oakland is about 45 minutes south of Wallace's hometown; his new home, Sacramento, is about an hour away. He said his family will be out in force to welcome him back when the River Cats host Salt Lake on July 28.

"It's been kind of a whirlwind, you know, being in St. Louis, seeing that and feeling like it might be close on," said Wallace, who hit .293 with six homers, 11 doubles and 19 RBIs in 62 games with Memphis before the trade. "Then, finding out there was a pretty good likelihood that I was going to get traded, it was pretty crazy. But in the same sense, it's exciting."

The 13th overall pick in the 2008 Draft was in the starting lineup Saturday, taking part in the River Cats' 11-10, 12-inning victory over Colorado Springs.

The Arizona State product went 2-for-6 with a run scored. He singled and came home in the second, then singled again in the 11th.

With all of the speculation about his future, it would be easy for Wallace to feel pressure to perform early on. So far, he doesn't seem worried.

"From the time I was in high school I held high expectations for myself," he said. "Then I went to Arizona State and we were shooting to be No. 1 in the country every year. You play with the bull's-eye on your chest, and the same thing with being a No. 1 pick.

"If they are looking for me to do special things, I expect myself to. It doesn't add anything for me."

At the same time, the realization that he is heading home continues to sink in, although it probably won't completely hit until the team returns to Sacramento. After all, there's a doubleheader Sunday on the heels of Saturday's marathon.

"I think once we get back to Sacramento, things will calm down after that," he said.

Things might calm down, but the excitement won't dull anytime soon.

"It's almost like you get a chance to start over and keep proving yourself," he said.

Mason Kelley 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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