Q&A With A's 9th Round Pick: Eric Berger

On Friday, the Oakland A's chose left-handed pitchers from the University of Arizona with back-to-back picks. The second of those two picks was Eric Berger, whom the A's nabbed in the ninth round. Berger was one of the Wildcats' top pitchers in 2006 before injuring his elbow. He missed all of the 2007 season. We spoke to Berger about his thoughts on signing, his rehab and more…

Name: Eric Berger
School/Year: Arizona, JR (note: Berger has been given a medical red-shirt for this year)
Position: SP
Throws: Left
Round Selected: Ninth

Short Bio: Berger is a Sacramento-area native who attended Woodcreek High School in Roseville, CA. He was an important part of the Arizona pitching staff as early as his freshman season, when he made 24 appearances for the Wildcats, good for third all-time in school history. He was injured during the spring of 2006, causing him to miss most of that season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2006 and missed the entire 2007 season for U of A. Berger struck out 111 batters in 99.2 career innings at Arizona.

OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on being selected.

Eric Berger: Thank you!

OC: Were you surprised that you were selected so high after missing the entire year?

EB: Yeah. I was really surprised that I was went in the ninth [round] because I was really expecting to go maybe in the 20th or something in that range.

OC: Does that change your thoughts at all about whether or not you will sign because you went a little higher than expected?

EB: Not necessarily. I think it just really shows that they really are interested and it probably make the percentage a little bit higher that it actually might happen [that he signs]. In that case, I guess that it does have some affect. It just shows me that they are really interested.

OC: Had you heard much from the A's before draft day?

EB: Not really, but they had followed me a lot in high school so I know that they have liked me since then. I have a good history with Oakland.

OC: Where are you at with the rehab of your arm at this point?

EB: Two days ago was my one year mark from surgery. I'm pretty much just throwing like a regular player, but I just haven't gone past 85 percent effort-wise off of the mound.

OC: What has the rehab process been like for you? Has it been really tedious?

EB: It hasn't been that bad. It has been a lot quicker than I thought. I haven't really had any pain throughout it, so that has been nice.

OC: What do you think your biggest consideration will be when you choose between signing and pitching for Arizona again?

EB: I don't know really. I know that they wouldn't have picked me this high if they weren't interested in getting a deal done because they know that I am going to be a junior again next season eligibility-wise. In my mind, I have to think that I am going to be pitching for Arizona again next season, but I'm not going to know until the deadline pretty much of the signing period.

OC: Growing up in Sacramento, did you follow the A's at all as a kid?

EB: I went to a lot of River Cats' games because they are about 20 minutes from my house, so that was cool. I followed Barry Zito in high school back when he was on the A's, but I really went to a lot more River Cats' games because they were just up the street. They have a beautiful field and a great atmosphere [at Raley Field].

OC: Were there any A's prospects you followed in particular from the River Cats?

EB: Yeah, Eric Byrnes. He was a stud for them.

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