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D-backs' Allen learning on the job

D-backs' Allen learning on the job

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Allen's season got interesting in July and then continued to get better.

The power-hitting prospect came to the D-backs in a trade that sent setup man Tony Pena to the Chicago White Sox. He figured to be part of a September callup on either team. The D-backs called him up in August and he's had an opportunity to get an early start on his Major League career.

"He has every chance to be an everyday first baseman," said D-backs manager A.J. Hinch, who has also been an essential part of player personnel in Arizona. "He's only 100 at-bats into his career, but he can be an all-around hitter with some power."

Allen's educational process has been expanded to include the Arizona Fall League, where the D-backs hope he can get more at-bats and work on getting back to his regular approach.

"He's there to work on his offense," Hinch said. "He's fine around first base. He needs to get his swing back to normal. He doesn't need to panic so much with two strikes."

Allen had struck out 38 times in 99 at-bats, but he also had seven doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs entering Wednesday night's game against the Giants.

Those numbers would translate to roughly 150 strikeouts, 40 doubles, 25 home runs and 75 RBIs over a full season. Numbers any manager would take from a rookie.

"It's an adjustment," Allen said. "You need to get comfortable over the course of a full season. All in all, it's been a great opportunity."

The AFL is designed to encourage top prospects to further their development in a relaxed atmosphere. Allen may feel a little pressure since Hinch lives and works in Arizona and said he was going to take in a few games this fall.

"Nah, I'm going to have fun," Allen said. "I don't know what to expect, but I am looking forward to it. The sky is the limit."

Allen figured he'd end the season in Charlotte, the White Sox Triple-A affiliate. He'd been in the organization since being drafted out of high school in 2004.

He heated up in Reno, the D-backs' Triple-A club, hitting .324, 60 points higher than his six-year Minor League totals.

"He was no secret to us," said Hinch, who helped craft the trade that brought the 23-year-old to the D-backs.

Allen admits to being a little bit star-struck, but when it comes to playing, it's the same game for him.

"Here I am, standing in the same locker room as Doug Davis and Dan Haren," Allen said. "Across the field there's Randy Winn. I've watched these guys play all these years. It's still nerve-wracking. On the field, it's crunch time."

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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