Five Pro Bears On Opening Day Rosters
BERKELEY – Five former California baseball standouts appear on Major League Baseball active rosters as the 2022 MLB season opens Thursday.
Former Golden Bears appearing on active MLB rosters include infielder Marcus Semien (Texas Rangers), outfielder Mark Canha (New York Mets), outfielder Andrew Vaughn (Chicago White Sox), right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies (Oakland Athletics) and catcher Andrew Knapp (Pittsburgh Pirates).
Semien, a Bay Area native, enters his 10th MLB season and his first with the Rangers after signing a seven-year $175 million contract in the offseason. The middle infielder had a career year in 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays as he was named an All-Star for the first time and hit 44 home runs, which set an MLB record for the most single-season home runs by a second baseman. Semien is a two-time finalist for the American League MVP award and was both a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award winner in 2021.
Semien played at Cal from 2009-11 and was a sixth-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2011.
Canha, an eight-year MLB veteran, will make his Mets debut Thursday after signing a two-year deal worth $26.5 million in November. He spent his first seven MLB seasons with the A's and slugged 89 home runs, including a career-high 17 in 2018. A native of San Jose, California, Canha played for the Bears from 2008-10.
Vaughn is coming off a rookie season in which he batted .235 with 15 home runs and 48 runs batted in while helping the White Sox reach the 2021 postseason. He made his MLB debut on April 2, 2021, less than two years after Chicago selected him with the third overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Vaughn starred for Cal from 2017-19 and was the national player of the year as a sophomore in 2018 when he earned the Golden Spikes Award and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year after slashing .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs.
Jefferies is slotted as the Athletics' No. 3 starting pitcher as the 2022 season gets underway. The right-hander is expected to play his first full season at the major-league level in 2022, having made two previous starts with the A's in 2020-21. Oakland selected Jefferies with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft after he went 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA and 53 strikeouts as a junior with Cal.
Knapp, a six-year MLB veteran, has donned three different uniforms since the conclusion of the 2021 MLB season. After spending the first five seasons of his major-league career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Knapp elected free agency and signed a minor-league contract with the Cincinnati Reds in December. He was released by the Reds on April 3, only to sign a new major-league contract with Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Knapp, who hails from Roseville, California, batted a career-best .278 in the shortened 2020 season and is a career .215 hitter with 13 home runs and 62 RBI. He's expected to serve as a backup catcher for the Pirates in 2022.
Additionally, former Bear Bob Melvin will embark upon his 19th season as a major-league manager and his first with the San Diego Padres. Melvin, a three-time Manager of the Year in 2007 with Arizona and 2012 and 2018 with Oakland, has amassed 1,346 career victories, including 853 with the A's, which were the second-most in franchise history. Melvin is joined by another Bear on staff in San Diego, as Bryan Price is serving as the senior advisor to the Major League coaching staff. Price was an eighth-round pick by the Angels out of Cal in 1984 and managed the Cincinnati Reds from 2014-18.
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