Jeremy Barfield is the son Rickey Henderson never had.

Entwined by Jesse Barfield, Jeremy's father and Henderson's Yankees teammate, their wardrobes looked identical -- "He used to dress me up as if I was his son in the same outfits as him," says Jeremy -- and so did a few of their baseball mannerisms.

Specifically, they're both members of what can be viewed as the game's oddest fraternity. They bat right-handed and throw left-handed.

"I do blame Rickey for that," Jeremy said, laughing.

The two stay in touch, made convenient by their ties to the A's, who made Barfield their eighth-round Draft pick in 2008. Henderson remains a special assistant in the organization, and the Hall of Famer has a pact with the prospect.

"Whenever he's in town, he has this place in Oakland where he gets chicken pot pies from, and any time I hit a home run he gets me a chicken pot pie," said Barfield, who reached double digits in homers in each of the last four seasons in the Minors. "It's the ultimate motivation. It's the best chicken pot pie I've ever had."

They'll soon have to hammer out a new deal.

Barfield hasn't picked up a bat since his last birthday. On July 12, he was called into manager Steve Scarsone's office in Sacramento. Readying for a birthday celebration at his go-to spot, Burgers & Brew, with his teammates, Barfield was now instead preparing to receive news that would quickly change the course of his professional career.

He had played in just 35 games in a span of two months in his first stint with Triple-A Sacramento, so they must not need a bench warmer anymore, he thought. Then the office doors closed, presumably meaning only one thing: He was headed back to Double-A Midland.

Not quite.

Take a week off, he was told, and then back your bags for Arizona.

This 25-year-old was headed back to rookie ball -- to make the transition from outfielder to pitcher.

"I don't know if I was breathing or blinking, I was so shell shocked," Barfield said. "To this day, if I had a choice, I'd rather hit, because that's just who I grew up as. They said they'd give me time to decide, but there was really nothing to decide."

He had pitched sparingly in high school, but Barfield had always been known for his cannon left arm since the A's plucked him out of San Jacinto College, annually racking up more outfield assists than anyone else in the organization -- much like his father did during his 12-year big league career.

Barfield posted respectable offensive numbers, but barely budged on the depth chart.

"I think it reached a point where we knew it wasn't going to be an easy road for him to get to the big leagues," said Keith Lieppman, longtime A's director of player development. "But we always thought he had a genuine tool that was worth looking at. There's that debate from within. When do you pull the plug on one side and try to go another direction?"

That time was now.

Lieppman called up A's Minor League rehab pitching coordinator Garvin Alston, and the plan was set in place.