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Brad Gregory Ziegler (born October 10, 1979, in ) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.

Professional career

Minor leagues

Ziegler was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round (938th overall) of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, but he returned to Missouri State Universitymarker for his senior year. Upon graduating, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted him in the 20th round (595th overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft.

He only threw six innings for the short season Batavia Muckdogs due to shoulder tendinitis. The Phillies released him a week before the start of the season because they felt he wasn't good enough to pitch in Low-A and too old to return to short season ball. After pitching well in four starts for the Schaumburg Flyers, an independent Northern League team, the Athletics signed Ziegler and he went into the starting rotation for the High-A Modesto Athletics of the California League.

After a solid season helping Modesto to the league playoffs, while pitching in his first game Ziegler was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Fred Lewis, playing for the San Jose Giants at the time. Ziegler suffered a fracture of the skull but recovered in time to pitch again in , earning a promotion to the Double-A Midland Rockhounds of the Texas League.

Continuing to start through the season, Ziegler moved further up the organizational ladder and pitched in a few games for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League, though he struggled in his brief time there.

Before the start of the season, Ziegler was approached by Ron Romanick, the minor league pitching coordinator for the Athletics, about converting to a sidearm/submarine style of pitching. He agreed to the change and spent the 2007 season in both Midland and Sacramento as a relief pitcher, improving the more he became accustomed to the change.

This led to a strong start to the season in Sacramento prior to joining the Major League club, though he suffered a second fracture of the skull in January during a workout following a youth camp he was assisting with. A thrown baseball deflected off another glove, hitting him in the forehead. Again, Ziegler recovered with no negative long-term effects.

Oakland Athletics

Ziegler received his first call-up to the major leagues on May 30, 2008, when the Athletics purchased his contract from the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. In 19 relief appearances with the River Cats before his promotion, Ziegler was 2-0 with a 0.37 earned run average. He had allowed just one earned run on 15 hits in 24.1 innings, while striking out 20. He earned his first Major League win on June 8 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

On July 22, Ziegler set an American League record for consecutive scoreless innings to start a major league career after pitching two innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. The previous American League mark was 22 innings, set by Dave Ferriss of the Boston Red Sox in . After pitching 2 innings against the Texas Rangers on July 27 Ziegler broke the Major League record of 25 innings that had been held by George McQuillan of the Philadelphia Phillies since . 

Ziegler picked up his first career save in the Major Leagues and become the Athletics new closer on August 8 against the Detroit Tigers. In earning his second on August 12 against the Tampa Bay Rays he established a new Oakland record for consecutive scoreless innings at any point in a career with 38, passing starting pitcher Mike Torrez, who reached 37 in .

Ziegler's streak came to an end at 39 innings when the Tampa Bay Rays scored a run against him in the ninth inning on August 14. Akinori Iwamura scored on a double by B.J. Upton, which was also the first extra base hit Ziegler had allowed in the Majors. He had tied Al Benton after a scoreless eighth inning, finishing at 39. Benton did it in with the Cleveland Indians, though he allowed runs during that stretch as a starter. Ziegler also tied Christy Mathewson for second place for scoreless innings by a rookie. Mathewson's streak came in as a member of the New York Giants. Grover Cleveland Alexander holds the record for a rookie, throwing 41 consecutive scoreless innings in with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Although the run scored with one out already made, the Elias Sports Bureau rules for this statistic dictate that the streak ends as of the last completed inning and/or appearance. For example, if Ziegler had recorded an out and was removed with nobody on base, that 1/3 inning would be added to his streak and it would continue. If he left with runners on and any of them scored, it would revert back to the last completed inning and the streak would end, though if the runners were all left on base the out he recorded would count toward the streak and it would remain ongoing.

Statistics

Year Ag Tm Lg W L G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP BFP BK ERA WHIP OBA
2008 28 OAK AL 3 0 47 0 0 0 11 59⅔ 47 8 7 2 22 30 1 0 229 0 1.06 1.156 .236
Totals: 3 0 47 0 0 0 11 59⅔ 47 8 7 2 22 30 1 0 229 0 1.06 1.156 .236


References

  1. Sports Illustrated, August 4, 2008, p.22


External links


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