Calhoun ready to prove himself in big leagues

Calhoun ready to prove himself in big leagues

OAKLAND -- At this time last year, outfielder Kole Calhoun was trying to make a name for himself in 'A' ball. Now, he's in the Major Leagues, having jumped three levels in 12 months.

Not bad.

"That's your No. 1 dream," Calhoun said, a big smile decorating his face from the visiting clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum on Monday. "But it was more just taking it day by day, and going out and playing the game every day. The opportunities kept coming, just kept doing all right, and here I am."

Calhoun, a 24-year-old left-handed hitter, is here because the Angels are a bit depleted in their outfield, with Vernon Wells (right thumb surgery) and Ryan Langerhans (separated right shoulder) both going down Sunday, and Torii Hunter still on the restricted list.

He's also here because of how he's impressed in a short amount of time.

Taken in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft after four years at Arizona State University, Calhoun was the Angels' Minor League Player of the Year in his first full season of pro ball last year, batting .324 with 22 homers and 99 RBIs for Class A Inland Empire -- an affiliate for which he proved too advanced.

This year, after a key learning experience in the Venezuelan Winter League, he turned a lot of heads in Spring Training and adequately made the jump to Triple-A, batting .296 with five homers and 31 RBIs while playing mostly center field in 43 games for the Salt Lake Bees.

Now, he'll be the fourth outfielder until Hunter returns, and may stay even longer if the Angels go back to 13 pitchers by that point. The Angels like Calhoun's versatility -- he can play all three outfield spots and first base -- and his maturity at the plate, and they believe he may be ready to perform his current role in the Majors.

"I'm ready to play," said Calhoun, who was able to get eight family members to Oakland on short notice. "I'm anxious, for sure, to get out there and get in the batter's box and give it my all."