Signs Point To Ross Joining A's Rotation

WEST SACRAMENTO - Thanks to an unusual early season schedule, the Oakland A's will go through two turns of their starting rotation before they need a fifth starter. On Tuesday, however, the schedule will finally require Oakland to add a fifth man to the rotation. Sacramento River Cats' right-hander Tyson Ross, at the moment, looks poised to be the one who gets the call.

After the start of the year required the Oakland A's to carry only four starting pitchers, the club is likely set to recall Tyson Ross to pitch in Anaheim on Tuesday.

Ross made his second start of the season for Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday, throwing 76 pitches in five innings. On three days rest, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed five hits and three runs, but threw better the numbers indicated, according to River Cats' manager Darren Bush.

"He threw the ball outstanding. He was down in the zone, he moved the ball around and had good action on his pitches. He looked good," Bush said.

In his two starts with the River Cats, Ross has thrown nine innings, allowing 10 hits and four earned runs. He walked four with three strikeouts.

A's staff ace Brandon McCarthy will be on regular rest to start Monday, while No. 2 starter Bartolo Colon wouldn't get his four days of rest until Wednesday. Ross would be on full rest for a potential Tuesday start for Oakland.

Last year, Ross' season in Oakland ended in May when he strained his oblique in a start against the Minnesota Twins. He threw well with the team to that point, going 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA in nine appearances, six of which were starts.

He spent more than a month away from pitching before making three minor league starts. With High-A Stockton on July 10, Ross suffered a setback in his rehab, re-tweaking his injured oblique. He waited two weeks before he resumed throwing. When he did, he had a hard time finding any consistency and went to the Arizona Fall League for the first time to work things out.

"I think the biggest difference it made for me is getting back on track after struggling last year. Coming into [last year's off-season] I felt kind of lost but I was able to work out the kinks in the Fall League," Ross said Friday.

Now fully healthy, Ross says he is able to throw all four of his pitches - fastball, sinker, slider and change-up - without restriction.

Ross and Bush said that they weren't aware of Oakland's potential plans for the Tuesday start.

The Cal alum didn't post great numbers for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the fall, going 1-3 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts. The important thing for Ross, however, is being in the strike zone after struggling with his location and feel during the regular season. He had only five walks in 16.2 innings after averaging well over five per nine innings during his rehab with Sacramento.

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