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Healy effusive with praise for Midland

MLB.com @JaneMLB

ARLINGTON -- A's third baseman Ryon Healy was quick to congratulate Double-A Midland's coaching staff after the RockHounds clinched their third consecutive Texas League championship on Friday night.

Healy, one of three players on the A's roster who began the season with Midland, had another message for them: "I do expect my ring still."

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ARLINGTON -- A's third baseman Ryon Healy was quick to congratulate Double-A Midland's coaching staff after the RockHounds clinched their third consecutive Texas League championship on Friday night.

Healy, one of three players on the A's roster who began the season with Midland, had another message for them: "I do expect my ring still."

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"They responded, 'Don't worry, the word's already been passed along, keep doing your thing.'" Healy said, smiling.

Healy and pitchers Daniel Mengden and Raul Alcantara will indeed get rings, having had a hand in helping Midland achieve a historic feat by becoming the first team in 91 years to win three straight Texas League championships.

Midland claimed a 4-1 victory over Northwest Arkansas, a Royals affiliate, to win the best-of-five series, 3-1. Among those in the lineup on Friday were shortstop Richie Martin, the A's first-round Draft pick in 2015, and third baseman Yairo Munoz, the club's No. 7 prospect.

Oakland's No. 1 and No. 4 prospects, shortstop Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman, also spent time under RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson in Midland this year before being promoted to Triple-A Nashville.

"The coaching staff there from top to bottom is just awesome," Healy said. "The city really does a great job of taking care of the players and really giving them a great experience there. They've had guys come and go from that team all year, so a lot of guys came in and stepped up, and they were able to get the job done. That's just part of the A's breeding winners through the farm system, a lot of guys wanting the opportunity, and when they get it, they perform."

"It's pretty cool," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Wherever you are, three in a row like that is pretty awesome. I know they take a lot of pride in what they do there, too."

Christenson is a homegrown product, having played four seasons with the A's after they drafted him in the 10th round in 1995. Since returning to the organization, he has taken his teams to the playoffs at every level he's managed, starting at both Class A levels, Beloit and Stockton, before being promoted to Midland in 2015.

Melvin, who has brought in Christenson to help at big league camp, considers him "a potential guy to move up in our organization."

"He really just preaches winning," Healy said. "The development portion of it is really important to him as well, but he does a good job of putting out a winning lineup every day. He's very in touch with his players and involved with everyone."

Healy has done quite well for himself since leaving Midland, needing only 49 games at the Triple-A level before he was deemed big league-ready. He hasn't disappointed, swinging a red-hot bat that's produced a .313 average in 57 games.

He entered Saturday leading the American League in September batting average (.400) and second in OPS (1.150).

"It's been impressive," Melvin said. "He's faced tough pitching, he's been around to [the point] where he's had to make adjustments now. He's a very confident guy, and he wants to be in there every day. He will have nothing to do with not starting a game. I can continually talk to him about his workload, and he doesn't even want to hear about it.

"It's one thing to have ability and another to believe in it, and he has both of those."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Sonny Gray (forearm) threw a 31-pitch bullpen session using all of his pitches on Saturday and "went after it as hard as he's done in this progression," Melvin said.

Gray will throw another bullpen session in a few days, then could face hitters.

"Next step," Melvin said, "[is] potentially [appearing] in a game."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oakland Athletics, Ryon Healy