April 8, 2010
BERKELEY - Former California right-hander Tyson Ross, a standout for the Golden Bears from 2006-08, made his Major League debut Wednesday, April 7 when he threw 2.1 innings of relief in the Oakland A's 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum.
Ross, who grew up in Oakland and attend Bishop O'Dowd High School, started his big-league debut by striking out the Mariners' Rob Johnson to end the top of the sixth inning on Wednesday. Ross ended up yielding one hit with no runs, one walk and two strikeouts in his 2.1 innings, throwing a total of 48 pitches. He retired seven of the nine batters he faced, including striking out Ken Griffey, Jr.
"I was excited to see Tyson's Major League debut, he looked fantastic," said Cal coach David Esquer, who has seen 52 of his players sign professional contracts in his 11 seasons with the Bears. "The A's manager Bob Geren even said Tyson's appearance was a pivotal point in the game. I am proud of him (Ross), but not surprised considering how successful he was at Cal."
Ross was drafted in the second round by the A's and was the 58th pick overall in the 2008 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He was 7-4 with 4.25 ERA in 12 starts as a junior, recording 66 strikeouts in 78.1 innings, and was named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second year in a row.
Ross started the 2008 season on a high note by one-hitting Kansas State (5.0 innings, one hit, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts) to earn Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor. He also had an outstanding 2007 summer season with the USA National Team, finishing 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA, striking out 39 batters with only seven walks in 43.2 innings.
On March 25, 2007 during his sophomore season, Ross was picked as the National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after striking out 16 batters (three away from the school record of 19 set by Larry Colton in 1963) with only one walk in 7.0 innings against Oral Roberts. He was noted for fielding as well, winning the 2007 Rawlings Gold Glove award as the nation's best fielding pitcher. For his college career, Ross had 271 strikeouts (third on Cal's career list) in 278.2 innings with a 19-14 overall record and a 3.20 career ERA.
In other Cal baseball news, former Cal slugger Allen Craig is also on a Major League roster as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Craig, a native of Temecula, Calif., played for the Bears from 2003-06 and has been stellar in the Cardinal's Minor League system, hitting .322 with a .547 slugging percentage at Triple-A Memphis last year. On Thursday, April 8 he started in right field for St. Louis (0-for-4).
As a senior infielder Craig was selected in the eighth round by the Cardinals in June 2006. That spring he owned a team-best .344 average with 15 doubles and 11 home runs. Craig was honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2005 and 2006, and for his career, he had a .308 average with 48 doubles, a triple, 27 home runs and 107 RBI in 192 games.
Ross and Craig are part of a list of six players who competed for Esquer at Cal and are now playing in the Major Leagues. The other four players include right-hander Brandon Morrow of the Toronto Blue Jays, who in 2006 became the highest draft pick in school history when he was the fifth pick overall by the Seattle Mariners. Esquer also helped develop catcher John Baker of the Florida Marlins; outfielder Xavier Nady of the Chicago Cubs; and outfielder Conor Jackson, who in 2003 was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Bears have a total of eight major leaguers currently playing with the addition of utility man Geoff Blum (1992-94) of the Houston Astros and right-hander Tyler Walker (1996-97) of the Washington Nationals.