22nd Round Pick Currin A Relief Artist

Last season, the Oakland A's selected a number of very productive relievers in mid-to-late rounds of the 2005 draft. Those relievers came together to give Vancouver a formidable bullpen in 2005 and many of those draftees are succeeding in the bullpens of Kane County and Stockton today. The A's hope 22nd round pick Patrick Currin will have similar success. We caught up with Currin on Monday.

Patrick Currin became the second Oakland A's draft choice to be taken from University of North Carolina, Greensboro when he was tabbed with the 22nd pick in the 2006 amateur draft. Currin joined teammate Jermaine Mitchell, who was the A's 5th round selection, on the A's draft board. Both players signed contracts with the A's over the past weekend.

"I actually played summer ball with Jermaine, so we've been together for about a year now. I've talked to him a few times [since the draft] and I was joking with him that he can't get away from me," Currin said on Monday, one day before he was scheduled to fly to Vancouver to join the short-season A Canadians ballclub.

Currin was a four-year player for the UNCG Spartans and he graduated from the university this spring with a degree in exercise and sports science. During his time with the Spartans, Currin was one of the Spartans' top relievers. This past season, he was a workhorse out of the bullpen, winning a team-high 10 games and throwing 83 innings of relief. He saved eight games and posted a 2.93 ERA. A control artist, Currin struck out 71 while walking only 14.

Currin indicated on Monday that the A's are looking for him to repeat his relief role in Vancouver.

"I enjoy being a reliever. For my four years in UNCG, I've been solely a reliever. I like the quick adrenaline rush that you get when you are about to enter a game," Currin said.

Similar to current A's set-up man Justin Duchscherer, Currin has a full array of pitches at his disposal out of the bullpen. He throws a fastball, curveball, change-up and cut-fastball (or "cutter"). According to Currin, the cutter has been the most recent addition to his pitching repertoire.

"The cutter I just developed over the past year and it has become like an out-pitch for me, especially against lefties. It has definitely improved my arsenal," Currin said.

Like for so many baseball hopefuls, the draft was a time of excitement for Currin.

"I was watching the draft on the internet, so when I saw my name pop up on the screen, it was a really great feeling. I had to take a second to catch my breath a little bit. I had a few friends with me and they were really excited for me. It's a great feeling," Currin said.

Although he grew up and played his college ball across the country, the Chapel Hill native already has some familiarity with the Oakland A's organization through A's area scout Neil Avent. Avent, who is in his first year as a scout with Oakland, was an assistant baseball coach at UNC, Greensboro before taking the job with Oakland. Avent was instrumental in the A's decision to target UNCG players Currin and Mitchell. Currin says that Avent has been an important figure in his career.

"Avent was actually the guy who recruited me to UNCG, and then he was a big part of bringing me to the Athletics organization, so I'm very grateful for that. I've known him for about five years now and we have a really great relationship," Currin said.

Now that Currin has signed with the A's, he is anxious to get his professional career going.

"I'm just really looking forward to the opportunity to continue to play baseball and to compete against tougher competition and the best players out there," Currin said.

"I can't wait to face those guys and see where it all leads to."

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