FULLERTON, Calif. – Six former Cal State Fullerton Titans will be on the opening day rosters of their respective Major League Baseball clubs as the 2013 season opens on Monday.
Khris Davis (2007-09) is the newest Titan to be called to an opening day roster, as the Milwaukee Brewers officially named Davis to the roster on Saturday. A right-handed hitting outfielder, he was the seventh-round pick of Milwaukee in 2009 after leading Fullerton with 16 home runs while also earning Big West Conference First Team honors batting .328 and driving in 58 runs.
During spring training, Davis belted a team-best six home runs and added a team-best 16 RBIs. He spent four seasons in the minors, and last year batted .350 while totaling 52 RBIs and 15 home runs.
The Brewers open 2013 hosting the Colorado Rockies.
While Davis is the rookie of the group, Mark Kotsay is the veteran, as he prepares to enter his 17th season in the MLB. Kotsay (1994-96) is starting his second consecutive year (fifth overall) with the San Diego Padres.
Kotsay (1994-96) was part of the 1995 national championship squad at Fullerton, and during that season was named the National Player of the Year wining the Smith, Golden Spikes and Collegiate Baseball (co) awards, respectively. During his Titan career, Kotsay was a two-time All-American and two-time Big West Player of the Year. His freshman average of .372 still stands as a record at Fullerton, as does his career slugging percentage of .743. Kotsay finished his career batting .404 with 216 RBIs and 45 home runs.
A first-round pick of Forida (ninth overall), Kotsay and San Diego open the 2013 season on the road, playing the New York Mets on Monday.
Another former Titan will be on the diamond at Citi Field on Monday, as infielder Justin Turner (2003-06) is set to begin his fifth season in the MLB, as well as his fourth year with the New York Mets.
Turner, a seventh round draft pick of Cincinnati in 2007, was part of Fullerton's last NCAA national championship squad in 2004. Turner was a first team Big West all-conference selection in 2006, and completed his four-year career with the Titans batting .328 with 157 RBIs and 51 stolen bases.
Vinnie Pestano recently competed his second full season in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians, and finished the year with a 3-3 record, 2.57 ERA and two saves. In 70 innings pitched and 70 appearances, Pestano totaled 76 strikeouts. Pestano managed a 57-4 record when leading after seven innings.
In two-plus years with the Tribe, Pestano has forged a 2.50 ERA in 142 outings. The 27-year-old was a 20th-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Pestano spent three seasons (2004-06) at Cal State Fullerton, helping the Titans capture their fourth national championship in 2004. Following his final season in 2006, he earned All-American and Big West Conference first team accolades.
Pestano finished his career with a record of 8-8 and a 2.93 ERA. In 93 career appearances with the Titans, he tossed 135 and 1/3 innings, striking out 129 and totaling 27 saves.
Most recently, Pestano made three appearances for Team USA at World Baseball Classic. He was also named the 2012 recipient of the Bob Feller Man of the Year Award, as announced by the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
The distinction is bestowed upon the organization's player or executive who consistently performs at the top of his game.
Cleveland opens 2013 at Toronto on Tuesday.
Kurt Suzuki (2002-04) the third player currently playing in the Major Leagues from the 2004 championship squad, is set to begin his seventh season in the MLB and second with the Washington Nationals.
Last season the 2004 All-American helped the Nationals to the National League East Division Championship after being traded from Oakland. A winner of the Brooks Wallace, Johnny Bench and Big West Conference Player of the Year awards in 2004, Suzuki was a second-round draft selection by Oakland that same year.
In 2004, Suzuki led the Titans in average (.413), home runs (16) and RBIs (87).
Washington hosts the Marlins on Monday.
Outfielder Reed Johnson (1997-99) is set to begin his 11th season in MLB and second year with the Atlanta Braves.
Johnson was a 17th round draft pick of Toronto in 1999, and during his three-year career at Fullerton batted .345 while driving in 120 runs. During 1999, he became the first Titan to score over 100 runs and record at least 100 hits in the same season, earning Big West first team recognition.
Atlanta hosts the Phillies on Monday.
San Francisco Giants first baseman Brett Pill (2004-06) begins the season on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a right meniscus injury during spring training.
In stints with the Giants during the previous two seasons, Pill appeared in 63 games, batting .239 with six home runs, 20 RBIs and a .419 slugging percentage.
Left-hander Ricky Romero (2003-05) begins the season on Toronto's 40-man roster, but recently the Blue Jays optioned him to Class A Dunedin.