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AN Exclusive: Tyson Ross Talks About His Mechanics

"Psst...You have legs."
"I do?"
"Psst...You have legs." "I do?"

No, not the people who work on his car, his unusual delivery. Ross has officially been named the starter for Tuesday night's game against the Many Names Team From Anaheim Angels to slot into the #5 spot in the A's rotation.

I had a chance to chat with Ross on March 19th, the day after Ross survived the hail in a tuneup against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a short interview focusing mostly on Ross' unorthodox mechanics. I learned a couple things I hadn't known before and hope you will too...

Nico: What I wanted to check in with you about was your delivery, because it is unusual. I'm interested, first of all, how did you develop the mechanics, the delivery that you have, which is

Ross: When I was in high school I was actually an infielder, playing 3B and kind of flinging it from over there, and once the coaches saw I had a pretty good arm they decided to put me on the mound. So it's just kind of been how I've thrown from the beginning, and throughout the minors they've tried to adjust it a bit - lengthen my stride, try to get me to bend over a little bit more, and for whatever reason it just doesn't seem to work out. So I've just kind of adapted that ‘This is how I throw,' and just try to own it and master it.

Nico: There's concern about potential injury. As far as I know you've never actually had an arm/elbow injury from those mechanics, but what does it feel like when you throw with those mechanics. What does it feel like in your top half, and your bottom half, and your arm?

Ross: I mean for me, it just feels natural. I don't know how other people feel, or how other people may see it, but for me it just feels like that's how things need to work for me to throw and have a positive result.

Nico: So when you had people trying to fiddle with (your mechanics), how did it feel different, what did it feel like when you were doing it "right"?

Ross: I was throwing like 85 MPH, tops. It was really weird - I would try to stride further, and get further down the mound, but the results just weren't there. (The coaches) see one game of me throwing 85 MPH and they're like, "All right, scrap that, and just do whatever you do!"

Nico: So right now, you're mostly fastball-slider. Are you developing other pitches right now, or are you sticking with what you've got? Because what you're doing is working, and yet it's a limited arsenal for a starter.

Ross: Well I do have a sinker that I mix in there, but it's kind of hard as a fan to see when I'm throwing that vs. the 4-seam, but that sinker is coming up there probably about 10%-15% of the time. {Note: No wonder: For the 2011 season, FanGraphs credits Ross with throwing a 4-seam fastball at an average velocity of 92.0 MPH and with throwing a sinker at an average velocity of 92.0 MPH. They also credit him with throwing a cutter an average velocity of 92.2 MPH. So FanGraphs thinks it sees three different fastballs all thrown at virtually identical velocity.} And then I also have a changeup that I'm working on developing; I do throw it but it's kind of on the back burner for now so I can really master it.

Nico: It was fun watching yesterday (March 18th) because you beat the hailstorm. But what were the weather conditions like just being out there on the mound. Because I can tell you, being in the stands it was not fun! {Note: Actually it was; it just wasn't pleasant.}

Ross: Yeah definitely, it was very unusual for Arizona. I don't think I'd ever seen hail out here. But you know it's just part of the game -- I think it was a good mental test for me.

If Ross likes tests, he'll enjoy Tuesday's challenge: Tyson gets to face off with Danny Haren, trying to navigate a lineup that now includes Albert Pujols.