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McKinney takes BP after agreeing to terms with A's

Oakland also gets competitive balance pick Pinder into fold

OAKLAND -- To alleviate some exhaustion of having to play 18 innings the night before, A's players weren't required to show up to the park on Friday until much later in the afternoon. But there was still plenty of on-field activity well before then.

A's first-round Draft pick Billy McKinney, officially in the fold as of Friday, was on hand to take batting practice and meet the media. By Saturday, he'll be in Arizona to begin his professional career with the Arizona Rookie League club.

"It's definitely nice," McKinney said. "Now I'm just going out there and playing. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to play for the Oakland A's, and I'm just happy that they picked me."

The outfielder, fresh out of high school in Plano, Texas, took some swings off manager Bob Melvin, finding his way out of the park several times.

"For a high school kid, he doesn't look like a high school kid," Melvin said. "He hit some balls several rows back using a wooden bat. Sometimes that can be a little nerve-wracking. He didn't look that way. Watching the ball jump off the bat, you'd maybe think he was a college player. He's got some good upside, definitely has some power."

"I thought I'd feel some butterflies, but after about the first two swings I felt good," McKinney said. "Baseball is just baseball, so once I got in the zone I was just trying to put my swing on it.

"It feels nice to get the ball out of the yard, no matter where you are."

McKinney had the opportunity to chat with A's players Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Rosales and Nate Freiman, after having already dined with general manager Billy Beane and other members of the A's front office for lunch. He referred to Beane, ever so politely, as Mr. Beane.

"I like the atmosphere that's around here," he said. "It's very warm and welcoming. That's what I've been feeling so far."

Jane Lee is a reporter for

Oakland Athletics