June 18, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Justin Lehr, a three-year letterwinner with the UC Santa Barbara baseball team from 1996 to 1998, was called up Wednesday by the Oakland Athletics as a relief pitcher.
Lehr, who primarily played catcher during his Gaucho career, received the promotion after posting a 4-1 record with 12 saves and a 1.97 ERA in 27 appearances with Triple-A Sacramento this season. This marks the first Major League assignment for the West Covina, Calif., native. He will join former Gaucho teammate Barry Zito on the A's pitching staff. Texas Rangers' shortstop Michael Young (1995-97) completes the trio of former Santa Barbara players currently in the big leagues.
Lehr started 138 of his 145 games as a Gaucho, amassing a career .303 batting average with 22 home runs and 120 RBI. He was a honorable mention All-Big West performer as a sophomore in 1997 before earning second team honors the following year. Lehr pitched sparingly at UCSB - posting a 1-3 record and 7.02 ERA in 14 appearances in 1998 - before transferring to USC and switching to that position full-time for his senior campaign.