How A's Sheldon Neuse made smooth transition from third base to second

Ben Ross
NBC Sports BayArea

OAKLAND -- For just about his entire life, Sheldon Neuse has played on the left side of the infield.

Neuse played shortstop and third base in college at the University of Oklahoma before moving to the hot corner full-time as a professional. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have much of a path to the majors at third base, with some guy named Matt Chapman already occupying the position.

So after spending the entire Triple-A season at third base, Neuse moved over to second just last month. Since earning a major league call-up on August 29, he has played the position flawlessly, recording a perfect fielding percentage through 91 innings.

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"I'm feeling better every day," Neuse told NBC Sports California. "I played there for about a week and a half before coming up (to the majors), but last spring training and this spring training, I've done a bunch of work there. Throughout this year, even though I played third a lot in Vegas, I still moved over and took my reps at other positions. Every day, I'm out there taking groundballs now to just try to get better. Right now I feel good, but there's always something to improve on."

Neuse, 24, says his biggest challenge has been mastering the footwork on the right side of the infield, particularly when turning a double play.

"Everything's backward from the left side of the infield," he said. "Other than that, I think everything else is coming together. I'm getting more and more comfortable every day with the flips and things like that."

Neuse made a trio of outstanding defensive plays in the A's 12-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday night. In the fourth inning, he ranged up the middle to backhand a 107-mph scorcher off the bat of Nick Solak, showing off his strong arm with an accurate throw to first.

Then in the sixth, he fielded another 107-mph grounder to retire Willie Calhoun, followed by a 103-mph one-hopper off the bat of Delino DeShields. He also helped turn a 6-4-3 double play in the first.

"Extremely (impressive)," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "For a guy who's been, not only on the other side of the diamond, but mostly third base, it's a completely different look. Then you switch to second base for a short period of time and then you're called to the big leagues and asked to play that position. I don't know that there could be a smoother transition. ... He's worked really hard with these guys and it looks like it's a natural position for him."

Neuse's bat has started to heat up recently as well. On Saturday, he went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, raising his average to .273.

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"Every game, I feel more comfortable -- getting in there and getting at-bats and just trying to make the most of my opportunities," Neuse said. "This is awesome. The more reps you get, the more comfortable you get. I think that just kind of comes with it. But I'm enjoying every moment of it."

The A's are certainly enjoying Neuse's play too.
 

How A's Sheldon Neuse made smooth transition from third base to second originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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