Mark Canha: young utility man, California native, cultivator of sideburns ... oh, yeah, food-lover.
The 6'2", 210-pound 27-year-old has been gracing the A's infield (and outfield) since last season, which has opened many doors to him in not only his baseball endeavors, but also in hunting down the tastiest dishes in the country.
He grew up in San Jose, where he was raised a Giants and Niners fan -- but he's since converted his family members to the green and gold side of baseball. He played ball at Bellarmine Prep School before attending Cal Berkeley, so he hasn't moved very far.
In 2010, he was drafted by the Marlins, then tossed into the minors for a few years. After floating steadily up towards the Major League surface with each season, the Rockies finally plucked Canha up in the 2014 edition of the Rule 5 Draft and immediately packaged him up and sent him away to Oakland in a trade. The Athletics, happy to receive yet another another colorful, multi-talented
red-head player, utilized him right away in the 2015 season.
In his first appearance, Canha went 3-for-5 with three hits and four RBI (his first hit inches away from a grand slam) and dropped a Bull Durham quote in his first post-game interview (a moment that will not leave him behind, just go ahead and google "mark canha interview" and see what comes up). With his performance, Canha joined Ben Grieve as the only A's players since 1914 to chalk up four or more RBI in their MLB debuts. Not a bad start.
Canha's versatility has seen him across the infield and into left field (and most recently, a stint in center), showing exceptional promise as a rookie utility man.
Mark and his wife, Marci (which would only be made more confusing if Mark spelled his name with a 'c' like new teammate Scrabble does) are both foodies. Marci is an architect and also a San Jose native, and they travel the Bay Area and beyond to find the best -- and most interesting -- bites. After being signed by the A's, Canha started to chronicle their journey on his aptly named Instagram account so fans can salivate away at the tasty meals he posts about.
He also posts about his foodie endeavors on Twitter, sometimes offering suggestions (and encouragement) to fans. Since he started posting, Canha said he is happily inundated by fans' suggestions of places to munch.
But how, you ask, does he stay so trim while sampling so many selections? Sorry, people, no miracle secret, just a lot of hardCORE Pilates workouts!
With the great mystery around what the Oakland Athletics will ultimately look like upon Opening Day, Canha's place is wholly uncertain. Where will he fit into the lineup, and how often will he be there? Only time will tell, but whatever Canha's role may turn out to be this year, we'll enjoy his food and baseball endeavors!