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Most OKC RedHawks focused on playoffs, not September call to the majors

By Mike Baldwin Published: August 26, 2014

The odd part of Triple-A baseball is, just when the season is ending, it’s sometimes the opportunity of a lifetime for some players who live out their dream and play in the big leagues.

Because major league teams can expand beyond the normal 25-man roster on Sept. 1 several players are called up. A few are handed late-season auditions to try to experience the big leagues so they can concentrate on areas that need work during the offseason.

The Oklahoma City RedHawks, though, are in a unique situation. Heading into Tuesday night’s game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Oklahoma City was tied for first in the Pacific Coast League’s American Northern Division with Omaha with six games left in the regular season.

“It’s exciting for the guys that could have a chance to go up, but none of us have been thinking about that,” said utility man Joe Sclafani. “We have a job to do and are trying to make a run to get into the playoffs. That’s the No. 1 priority. Everything else will take care of itself.”

The Astros showed last season they prefer to leave non-40-man-roster players in the minors to gain playoff experience.

Still in the playoff chase, the RedHawks’ season could extend deep into September. But if they don’t win the division, several players could join the big league club as early as next Tuesday after the PCL regular season ends on Monday.

“Everyone is focused on trying to win games so we can get into the playoffs,” said catcher Max Stassi, a likely call-up since he’s on the 40-man roster. “Whatever happens after our season ends here remains to be seen. Obviously it’s something you’re aware of, but our focus is to win games and get on a roll in the playoffs.”

Last season, the Astros left stars George Springer and Jon Singleton in Oklahoma City for the playoffs instead of promoting future foundation pieces to the majors. It appears they will take a similar approach this season.

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