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Robbie Ross excited to start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If the rain holds up, pitcher Robbie Ross will make his first Cactus League start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

He didn't expect much during his first big league camp. Ross thought it would be a great experience to be around professionals, but he's making a case early this spring for a possible spot on the roster.

"I haven't really gotten to throw against the guys that usually start so that should be fun experience," Ross said.

Ross hasn't given up a run on three hits in four appearances. He hasn't allowed a walk and struck out six batters. In four innings of work, opponents have a .200 batting average against Ross.

With impressive performances out of the bullpen, Ross got the nod to start the team's split squad game.

"Coming into camp we kind of viewed him as a starter," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "That was a template that we set forth, but early on you try to give everybody a chance to pitch."

The lefty is slated to go three innings Sunday. The team wants to stretch Ross out and give him as many multi-inning appearances as he can get in camp.

It will be his first time pitching multiple innings this spring, but Ross won't change his approach.

He has picked the brains of veterans on the team, including pitcher Colby Lewis. The way Ross commands his fastball has impressed Lewis, his locker buddy.

"That is what’s going to open up eyes and give himself an opportunity the make the club," Lewis said. "He really hasn’t done anything wrong and that's a good position to be in."

Along with his fastball command, Ross wants to get ahead in the count with first pitch strikes Sunday.

The Rangers are looking for a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen this spring. Manager Ron Washington has been impressed by Ross, but he said the decision is not solely on his shoulders. This start will give the Rangers a better idea if Ross is the guy they're looking for.