Forget Punxsutawney Phil, the truest gauge of when spring is arriving can be measured in four words: Pitchers and catchers report.
For Las Vegan Chris Carter, this could be the spring in which he realizes his big-league dream.
Carter, 23, is on the Oakland Athletics’ 40-man roster, and the 2005 Sierra Vista High School graduate has an outside shot at becoming the team’s starting first baseman even though he has no big-league experience.
The 6-foot-4-inch slugger has battered pitchers at every stop throughout his minor league career, and has been named the top player in the Oakland organization for the last two seasons.
Carter hit .337 with 24 home runs and 101 RBIs for Double-A Midland in 2009, earning Texas League MVP honors, before ending the year with Triple-A Sacramento, where he added four homers and 14 RBIs in 13 games.
Despite leading all minor leaguers in hits (179) and total bases (310) last year, Carter likely will start the season at Sacramento, which would give Las Vegans a chance to see him play at Cashman Field against the 51s.