07/13/08 4:56 PM ET
Ziegler meeting all of his early goals
Right-handed reliever has yet to allow an earned run
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
When Ziegler was called up from Triple-A Sacramento on May 30, he told himself he wanted to stay with the big league club until at least the end of the Phillies series on June 26.
"Now, I want to make it to the All-Star break," he said before the series finale against Philadelphia when that day finally came. "And hopefully after that I'll be up here for another 10 to 15 years."
On Sunday, just hours before Oakland officially entered the All-Star break, Ziegler found himself still on the A's 25-man roster as they prepared to take on the visiting Angels for the finale of a three-game set. No surprise there, though, considering his numbers.
The 28-year-old, who began the season with Sacramento and was 2-0 with a 0.37 ERA in 19 relief appearances for the River Cats, has somehow found a way to better those marks at the Major League level. On Saturday against the Angels, he tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to extend his career-opening scoreless streak to 20 1/3 frames, which is an ongoing Oakland record.
"He's had success everywhere he's pitched," manager Bob Geren said. "He's climbed the ladder and has accomplished the same thing here as he's done everywhere else."
Ziegler's streak is the longest by a Major League pitcher since Toronto's Victor Cruz had a 21 1/3-innings streak in 1978. Ziegler has pitched 18 times since his promotion, and that number would be higher if Geren wasn't so worried about wearing the rookie out.
"He has a strong desire to succeed," the skipper said. "How old is he? 28? Getting to the big leagues at that age tells you a lot about the heart inside of him."
Ziegler, who spent five seasons in the Minors, has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise for an Oakland bullpen that, despite the third-best ERA in the American League, has watched injury after injury take away several key arms for lengthy periods of time, including Santiago Casilla, Joey Devine and Keith Foulke.
"Battling around the Minor Leagues is not a glamorous life," Geren said. "It takes a lot of heart getting to accomplish not just a goal, but a very significant role in the bullpen
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.