FULLERTON, Calif. – Five former Cal State Fullerton Titans were on the opening day rosters of their respective Major League Baseball clubs as the 2014 season got into full swing this week.
Khris Davis (2007-09) enters his second season in the big leagues, as he was the opening-day starter in left field for the Milwaukee Brewers when they faced off with the Atlanta Braves. Davis is coming off a rookie season in which the right-handed hitting outfielder played in 56 games for the Brewers and batted .279 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.
Davis 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.
Veteran Reed Johnson enters his 12th professional season as a member of the Miami Marlins after advancing to the playoffs with the Atlanta Braves in 2013. Johnson comes to the Marlins as a key piece off the bench and showed off his value in his first at-bat of the season as he recorded a pinch-hit double in the Marlins 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
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.
After four seasons with the New York Mets, former Titan Justin Turner enters his sixth season in the Majors as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Turner was the starting second baseman in the Dodgers season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia on March 22, going 1-for-4.
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.
Kurt Suzuki is the third former Titan on an opening day roster in 2014 as he enters his eighth season in MLB as a member of the Minnesota Twins. The 30-year-old catcher was the starting backstop for the Twins in their opener against the Chicago White Sox. Suzuki drove in three runs in his first game with the Twins in a 5-3 loss on Monday.
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 the Oakland Athletics that same year. In 2004, Suzuki led the Titans in average (.413), home runs (16) and RBIs (87).
Lastly, Vinnie Pestano rounds out the list of former Titans who opened the 2014 MLB season on a team's roster as he enters his fifth season as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
In his first three seasons in Cleveland, Pestano is 5-7 with a 2.82 ERA. He's tallied 11 saves and has pitched in 172 and 1/3 innings with 205 strikeouts and 74 walks. Pestano has averaged 10.7 strikeouts-per-nine innings in his career.
The 29-year-old pitcher was a 20th-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and 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.