Robbie Ross: 'I want to be here'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Neal Cotts' injury in Saturday's game means that 22-year-old Robbie Ross is the only left-handed reliever in big league camp with just one Cactus League game remaining.

Cotts suffered a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle and the preliminary diagnosis is that it will be seven to 10 days before he can throw again.

Earlier Saturday, before Micheal Kirkman was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock or Cotts got hurt, Ross talked about his overall spring experience and his desire to be on the 25-man roster when they are due to the league on Wednesday morning.

"I want to be here," Ross said. "I'd love to be on this team. I'd love to pitch for the Rangers. But I wouldn't be too disappointed. I had a good time and did the best I could and enjoyed it."

Ross has impressed manager Ron Washington and the rest of the coaching staff and front office this spring. He's featured a cutter that has broken bats and left hitters shaking their heads and he's showed an ability to forget about any rough patches.

Washington said the club isn't thinking of the left-handed relief option as a situational one. It's more about having a guy that can get lefties out, but also stay in and finish an inning or pitch an additional inning if needed. Ross has been pitching two-inning stints his last few times out and is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday.

"I've worked as hard as I could," Ross said. "I have no regrets. I've had the best time with it. I've enjoyed it. It's up to them what they think and what they want to do. If I don't make the team, I don't make the team. If I do, I do. At the same time, I'm just happy I got to be here and have fun."

Ross said one of his highlights this spring was getting Albert Pujols out. Overall, Ross has been thrilled to get the chance to work out with the big league club and pitch against major leaguers. He was also pleased that he's seen pretty good consistency, not only from his fastball command, but from his cutter, slider and changeup.

"It's been good for me to see how I could do against big-time hitters and big-time players and see if I could really do it," Ross said. "It was a fun experience. I had a home run hit off me. I got Albert Pujols out. It's different over here and it was good to see that too."