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J. Brent Cox

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James Brent Cox

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[edit] Biographical Information

J. Brent Cox was a star in the 2005 College World Series who pitched in the minors in 2005-2010 and for the US national team in 2006.

Cox was 6-0 with a 2.25 as a freshman at the University of Texas. He served as the set-up man for Huston Street, the team's All-American closer. In 2004, the sophomore went 6-2 with 5 saves and a 2.12 ERA. He was second to Street in the Big 12 Conference in ERA and both of the Longhorn relievers made the All-Conference team. Cox was tied for second in NCAA Division I in appearances (37), trailing only teammate Buck Cody. Cox helped Texas finish second in the country, losing the 2004 College World Series.

In the 2004 World University Championship, Cox allowed no hits in 5 innings, striking out nine. He won one game and saved four to help lead the US to the title. For the summer, he was 2-1 with 4 saves and a 2.08 ERA, striking out 25 in 17 innings for Team USA.

With Street gone, Cox became the Longhorn closer in 2005. He was excellent, going 8-3 with 19 saves and a 1.73 ERA. In 78 innings, he allowed 57 hits and 25 walks while striking out 87. He again was an All-Conference pick and also was an ABCA All-American. Baseball America named him a second-team All-American. Cox was 6th in NCAA Division I in ERA (leading the Big 12 Conference ahead of Joba Chamberlain and Max Scherzer) and led NCAA Division I in saves.

Cox was even sharper in the 2005 College World Series. He was 1-0 with 2 saves in 5 games, allowing 3 hits in 10 innings while striking out 12. He got the Series's final out and was named to the All-Tournament team. He set the all-time career record with 12 appearances in College World Series games.

Cox was taken in the 2nd round of the 2005 amateur draft by the New York Yankees, a pick that was compensation for the loss of Orlando Hernández to free agency. He was signed by scout Steve Boros for a $550,000 bonus.

Debuting professionally in high class A, Cox was 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 16 games for the Tampa Yankees, striking out 27 in 28 IP and allowing a .206 average. Cox had another fine year in 2006, going 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA and 3 saves in 41 games for the Trenton Thunder. He allowed a .196 average. Baseball America rated him as having the best slider in the Yankee system and being the team's 8th-best prospect.

Cox struck out 7 in 7 innings for Team USA in the American Qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics (held in 2006), allowing four runs and having no decisions or saves. He pitched scoreless ball against Brazil (2 IP, 3 H), Venezuela (1 2/3 IP) and Nicaragua (2 IP). He struggled, though, against Cuba in the finale. Relieving Kevin Slowey with a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 6th, Cox was charged with two runs in that inning and two more in the 7th (though Jeff Ridgway was on the hill when both runners scored) as Cuba tied it.

Cox had elbow surgery in March of 2007 and did not pitch a game that season.

Primary Sources: 2007 Yankees Media Guide, IBAF site, 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, The Baseball Cube