Oakland A's Instructs Q&A: Tyson Ross, RHP

After being selected in the second round in this year's amateur draft, Tyson Ross had a whirlwind professional debut season. The former Cal right-hander and Oakland native overcame shoulder soreness in time to help the Stockton Ports win the Cal League championship. We caught-up with Ross from the A's Instructional League…

Just months after he concluded his storied career as a starting pitcher for the Cal Bears, Tyson Ross was assisting another East Bay team win a championship. After beginning his pro career with the Low-A Kane County Cougars, Ross was sent to the High-A Stockton Ports, where he pitched in two playoff games and helped the Ports win a California League championship. In those two starts, Ross allowed only one earned run in 10 innings.

Now the 6'5'' Oakland native is in Phoenix working with the Oakland A's minor league coaching staff at the team's annual Instructional League. We spoke to the hard-throwing right-hander to find out what he is learning at instructs, his first impressions of professional baseball and more…

OaklandClubhouse: How has the Instructional League been going? Is there anything in particular that you have been focusing on?

Tyson Ross: It has been a great experience for me. I have been working on adding a cutter to everything I have right now. I'm working on my mechanics and working on this new pitch. It's been really helpful. I have been able to work on it everyday with some of the best coaches we have in the organization and it has been a good experience so far.

OC: It had to have been a whirlwind for you to go from signing your contract to joining a full-season affiliate (the Low-A Kane County Cougars) just a week or so later. What was that adjustment like to go from college to a full-season affiliate?

TR: It was definitely kind of strange. We all got down here to Arizona [after the draft] and we were all coming off of our college seasons and were meeting for the first time as our first experiences in pro ball. And then like a week later I was with guys who were in their second or third seasons who had already gone through two or three months of pro ball this year. I kind of had to jump right into the mix really quick and just kind of adjust and get used to life on the road.

OC: Was that an adjustment you were able to make fairly quickly?

TR: Yeah, definitely. I kind of got my feet wet and then was able to feel comfortable pretty quickly.

OC: I know you missed some time rehabbing an injury during the season. Was it a shoulder that was bothering you a little bit?

TR: Yeah. It was just a little bit of shoulder tightness that I had.

OC: Is that tightness pretty much out of the way now?

TR: Yep. It's all good now.

OC: You got to pitch in the post-season, first with Kane County and then with Stockton. Was it a different feel to pitch in the post-season as opposed to the regular season?

TR: Definitely. Everyone is really geared up for the post-season and everyone is hanging on every pitch. It wasn't just like another game. I really enjoyed it, especially my time in Stockton.

OC: I assume that your friends and family got to see you pitch with Stockton. What was that like to pitch basically back home?

TR: It was great. Both of my starts with Stockton – the one in Stockton and the one at San Jose – were just like home games for me. I had played there before and just to be home in California was really refreshing.

OC: What was the celebration like when you guys won the California League championship?

TR: It was awesome. It's just like you see the Major Leaguers do it. The lockers were all taped up and there were bottles of champagne. Everyone was just jumping up and down. It was great.

OC: Do you have a workout program already set in place for the off-season as you prepare for your first full season?

TR: Yeah, from what I understand, they have a really good throwing program set in place for all of the players. And then I am probably going to get together with a personal trainer and workout at a private facility to try to get into the best shape possible to be ready to go from day one of spring training.

OC: Being a local guy and having grown up as an Oakland A's fan, has it sunk in yet that you are a member of the organization? What does it mean to you to have that A's gear and be a part of the team you rooted for as a kid?

TR: It's just awesome. Growing up, you want to be a professional baseball player your whole life. Whenever people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I'd say ‘I want to play for the A's.' And they'd say, ‘yeah, well, in case that doesn't work out, what are you going to do?' [laughs] It's kind of funny looking back at it now when I get to the park in the morning and I pull on my jersey and it has ‘Oakland' right there on the front of it. I couldn't have asked for things to have worked out any better than this.

OC: You mentioned that you are adding in a cutter. What other pitches are you throwing?

TR: I've got a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, slider, cutter and a change-up.

OC: With the mechanical changes that you are making, are they big changes or just little tinkering here and there?

TR: Yeah, just a little tinkering.

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