SAN DIEGO — When Tyson Ross was healthy and at his best, the 6-foot-6 right-hander was an All-Star for the Padres.
He had a 23-26 record over the 2014-15 seasons with a 3.03 ERA in 64 starts covering 391 1/3 innings.
Ross was so tough that he was the Padres’ Opening Day starter in 2016. But Opening Day was the only time Ross would pitch in 2016. Persistent shoulder problems sidelined him for the rest of the season and led to thoracic outlet surgery.
Ross pitched in 2017 but not very well, and with the Texas Rangers, for whom he was 3-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 12 games (10 starts).
Ross, who turns 32 on April 22, signed with the Padres last Dec. 29 and won a spot in the Padres’ rotation. Tuesday night, a day shy of the two-year anniversary of his last Padres start, Ross takes the mound against the Colorado Rockies and left-hander Kyle Freeland at Petco Park.
“It’s good to be back,” Ross said Monday. “Seems a lot longer than it was.”
“I’m thrilled to see him back,” Padres manager Andy Green said before Monday night’s 7-4 loss to the Rockies in the opener of the four-game series.
“I’m thrilled to see him back pitching well. That game in Glendale against the Dodgers sort of cemented everything in my mind that I was seeing throughout spring training … that this guy’s worked incredibly hard to fight back from the shoulder injury and shoulder surgery.
“His stuff is back and his stuff was really good. Last year, he was searching for himself and he kept stepping on the rubber every time giving everything that he absolutely had. Now he’s found himself again and I’m glad it’s in a Padres uniform. I believed in him immediately when I came here and I made him the Opening Day starter almost right when I got the job.
“He battled injury that whole year, so we’re thrilled to have him healthy, thrilled to have him be the person he is in the clubhouse. We’re excited to see him take the mound tomorrow.”
Ross hasn’t had much success against the Rockies as a Padre. He has a 0-5 career record with a 3.44 ERA in 11 games (nine starts). But he has 53 strikeouts in 55 innings. Overall, Ross is 12-17 in games at Petco Park with a 2.81 ERA in 47 appearances (38 starts). He has 264 strikeouts in 256 2/3 innings.
Denver native Freeland will be starting his second season with the Rockies. The 24-year-old was 11-11 last season with a 4.10 ERA. He tied for the Major League lead in wins by a rookie and ranked third in innings pitched (156) and fifth in ERA.
The Rockies first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2014 draft was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four appearances (two starts) against the Padres and 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two games (one start) at Petco Park.
“I think the curve ball should come into play this year with Kyle,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s a pitch where it will make a difference in the velocity from his low 90s fastball to a pitch in the high 70s. The ever-improving change should come into that.
“We see a little more poise, a little more calmness. Just in spring training in the clubhouse there was a little bit more self-assurance with Kyle of being in the big leagues. In the second half of last year, the league made adjustments to him and he has to adjust back.”