Padres Hand Opening Day Start to Tyson Ross


In what can be seen as a surprise only based on overall name recognition and monetary standing, the Padres have decided to give Tyson Ross and not James Shields the ball for their Opening Day 2016 start. It will be Ross’ first Opening Day start and well deserved given his performance the past two seasons with the Padres.

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The honor is based on both what the Padres saw from Ross last season and what they expect out of him this season. Manager Andy Green had this to say:

“I feel like he’s earned that right at this point in time and that it’s the next step in his growth process, I feel very strongly about it. Tyson is ready and eager to take the ball on Day 1. We’re excited to have him as our ace.”

Naming him the starter on the Opening Day of Spring Training is also a big difference from last season, when Bud Black took markedly longer to name the Opening Day starter. Ross will be the Padres fourth different Opening Day starter in the last 5 seasons. Only Edinson Volquez has started consecutive seasons since Jake Peavy was the starter 2006-2009 for the Padres.

It will be interesting to see what – if any – the new honor has on both his and James Shields season as time goes by. With Ross going against other teams best – in theory that means Shields will be competing against teams Number two starters when of course he has pitched in the Number 1 spot for several years now. Whether he will have more success in the Win/Loss record will be interesting to watch.

Andrew Cashner is slotted as the number three starter, and the question of who will finish out the rotation will be a major Spring storyline.

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Green let longtime pitching coach Darren Balsley tell Ross, who gives Balsley a lot of the credit for helping him become the pitcher he is today:

“It’s been great. I’m really appreciative for everything Darren has done for me. He’s taken me from a tough part in my career and helped me blossom. I owe the world to him. We’ve been through a lot together.”

That next chapter will see Ross as a number 1 starter, and with trade rumors circling still around Shields and Cashner he’s hoping he can start another streak of consecutive Padres Opening Day starters moving into 2017 and beyond.