Ross excited for new opportunity in Oakland

September 3, 2012, 7:34 pm
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OAKLAND -- The A's have added yet another live arm. All they had to do was make a phone call.

Tyson Ross has returned to Oakland for the fifth time this season, but this time he will pitch out of the bullpen. The East Bay native was last recalled to pitch in Bartolo Colon's place on August 23. He went six innings allowing five runs and was immediately sent back to Triple-A with a new role. "Maybe his best chance is in the bullpen," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The stuff does stand out, and there's a chance coming out of the bullpen for shorter stints that the velocity may even pick up." Many have wondered if Ross would be better served as a relief pitcher. Now we get to find out for sure. The statistics certainly indicate pitching out of the bullpen will help the right-handed pitcher. First time through the lineup batters have a .247 average against him, second time though it jumps to .307, and the third time through it escalates to .397. "It's going to be a more intense focus as far as seeing one time through the lineup or one inning at a time," Ross said. "I think it's a little bit easier to lock it in on just those three or four hitters, not having to worry about mixing it up the second time through." Ross is ready to embrace the role especially because it means he gets to play for his hometown team in a pennant chase. "It's awesome," Ross said. "I've been an Oakland A's fan my whole life. I remember back in high school when those were the good days, it's exciting to be in the clubhouse, be down on the field, and help contribute."Ross says the team told him they were happy with what he's been doing on the mound. They let him know they wanted to put him in the bullpen for the season to relieve pressure on the guys that have been here all year. "It kind of sucked getting sent down but it was nice to know they were happy with the results," Ross said. "Whatever little bit I can do to help out and contribute will be a good thing."In his Major League career Ross has been a mediocre starting pitcher. In 13 starts for the A's this season he is 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA. As a reliever the team might be able to get the most use out of his talented skill set. He will be used in long relief for now."When he's feeling good he can throw 96 to 97-mph with sink," Melvin said. "At this point in time we are looking at more length but maybe down the road he is a guy that can pitch deeper in games." The experiment hasn't exactly gone as planned yet. He has allowed four runs -- three earned in two innings in Sacramento since being converted to a reliever. Granted, it is a work in progress. "I've done it a little in the past and had some success," Ross said. "I just have to learn from the other guys as far as getting my routine down and learning where my role fits in."

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