San Diego Padres manager Andy Green wasted no time naming the club's Opening Day starter.
"It completely caught me off guard," Ross told Dennis Lin of The San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's a true honor to be named Opening Day starter. I'm looking forward to not only taking the mound that first day, but getting the ball rolling for the whole team."
It's the first time Ross will make an Opening Day start and comes as some surprise. James Shields, the club's highest-paid pitcher, opened the 2015 season and is now slated to follow Ross in the rotation with Andrew Cashner pitching third. Green told reporters Shields took the decision "great" and was supportive.
"We feel like he's earned that right, feel like it's the next step in his growth process, feel very strongly about it," Green said of Ross. "We're excited to have him as our ace."
Ross becomes the fourth different Opening Day starter for the Padres in as many years, and 29th in club history.
The 28-year-old went 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA in 33 starts last season, striking out 212 over a career-high 196 innings.