Brad Mills Makes Debut With Blue Jays
June 18, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. – Former Arizona pitcher Brad Mills made his Major League Baseball debut today as he started for the Toronto Blue Jays in Philadelphia against the Phillies.
Called up by Toronto on Wednesday, Mills took the mound for the Blue Jays in the interleague game that began at 1:05 EDT.
Mills, a native of Mesa, Ariz., has reached the pinnacle of the game just two years after being drafted by the Blue Jays in the fourth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
A 5-foot-11, 185-pound left-hander, Mills arrived at Arizona in the fall of 2003 and was the only walk-on selected to the 2004 team out of more than 80 players who tried out. That season, the Wildcats advanced to the College World Series, where Mills made one appearance out of the bullpen.
During his first two seasons in the UA program, Mills made 28 appearances – all as a reliever. But as a junior, Mills was moved into a starting role where he posted a 6-5 record in 2006.
He was selected by the Blue Jays in the 22nd round following that junior season, but he declined the professional offers and returned for his senior season.
The decision paid off for Mills, as he posted a career-best 9-4 record in 2007 as UA’s No. 2 starter, behind Preston Guilmet, the 2007 Pac-10 Pitcher of the year. Mills struck out 89 hitters in 87 2/3 innings as a senior, posting a career-low 4.41 ERA.
When the Blue Jays re-drafted Mills with the 145th fifth pick in the 2007 draft, he had wrapped up his Arizona career with 61 appearances, a 15-10 record and 190 strikeouts.
In addition to his performances on the field, Mills was one of UA’s top academic performers during his time at the school. He was named to the Pac-10’s First Team All-Academic squad as a senior and to the CoSIDA All-Academic District 8 team. Additionally, he was one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
In the Blue Jays organization, Mills quickly climbed up the ranks in 2008, playing across different three levels of the system. He began the season in Class-A Lansing, was promoted to Class-A Advanced Dunedin in late June and the finished the season with Double-A New Hampshire, where he made six starts for the Fisher Cats with a 3-2 record and 1.10 ERA.
After winning an organization-best 13 games in 2008, Mills started this season with the Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate for the Blue Jays. Despite just a 1-8 record, Mills had posted a 4.48 ERA in 13 starts, prompting a promotion to the major league club this week.
Mills’ debut is the fifth for a former Wildcat this season. Trevor Crowe (2003-05) made his debut by beginning the season with the Cleveland Indians as did Ryan Perry (2006-08) with the Detroit Tigers.
A total of 63 former Arizona baseball players have played in the major leagues. Of those, eight players, including the five this season, were coached by Arizona head coach Andy Lopez, who recently completed his eighth season at the school.
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