Q&A With A's Second Round Pick, Tyson Ross

The East Bay has produced some outstanding major league pitchers over the past 30 years. The Oakland A's are hoping that their second-round pick in the 2008 draft, Tyson Ross, will be following in footsteps of other great East Bay natives Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, Randy Johnson, C.C. Sabathia and Dontrelle Willis. We spoke to the Cal right-hander after he was drafted by his favorite team.

For most players, just being drafted is a dream come true. But for Tyson Ross, being selected by the Oakland A's fulfilled an even bigger dream. Ross, an Oakland native who competed at Bishop O'Dowd High School before attending Cal, is ecstatic about joining the organization he grew up rooting for.

We spoke to Ross about the draft process, being selected by the A's and whether or not he plans to sign…

OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on going so high in the draft and on being picked by a local team.

Tyson Ross: Thank you!

OC: Was it exciting to get the call from the A's?

TR: Oh, yeah, definitely. I am very excited right now.

OC: You are from the Oakland area, right?

TR: Yep. I am from Oakland.

OC: Did you grow up an A's fan?

TR: Definitely, from back when Tony LaRussa was the manager. I have pictures all over my house of me at A's games in A's hats and whatnot. I'm really excited.

OC: Were you aware that the A's were interested in you?

TR: Yeah. I knew the scouts were out there now and then. I had heard that [A's GM] Billy Beane was out there for a few games.

OC: There were some rumors that you weren't healthy this season. How are you feeling now?

TR: Excellent. I feel like I could go out there and pitch tomorrow.

OC: Can you talk about your career at Cal a little bit? What was it like to pitch in front of friends and family?

TR: It was great. That was one of the reasons that I went to Cal was to be close to home, so that friends and family could come out and watch me play. That is why it is so great to be picked by a team like the A's, where I might have that opportunity again someday hopefully in a couple of years if I get up to the big team.

OC: Have you heard from the A's much since you were selected?

TR: I just talked to them briefly and they said they'd give me a call a little later when the draft is over.

OC: I know you are a junior and you'll have a decision to make about whether or not to sign. Is that going to be a difficult decision for you, or are you pretty committed to turning pro?

TR: It will be an easy decision for me, especially with a team like the A's picking me.

OC: What pitches are you throwing right now?

TR: I have a couple of different fastballs, a two-seamer, a four-seamer and a cutter. And then a slider, a curveball and a change-up.

OC: What has the draft process been like for you? Has it been hard to focus with all of the scouts around and the draft experts writing about you?

TR: Yeah, a little bit. There are a lot of distractions out there with the magazines and the on-line stuff [about the draft], but it's just great to have this opportunity now to play for the team that I have been a fan of my whole life.

OC: You had a chance to play for Team USA. What was that experience like?

TR: That was great. I was just watching the first round and saw a number of those guys go. And then I just saw that the A's picked up our catcher for the summer, Petey Paramore, in the third round. I am really excited to have a chance to throw to him again in the minors and work our way up together.

OC: What are you expecting out of minor-league life once you do turn pro?

TR: I've had a lot of friends who have played in the pros and they have told me about how rough it can be with the travel and all of that. But I am mentally prepared for that and I am just really excited to get out there and start playing.

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