Robbie Ross eager for shot at rotation

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Texas Rangers pitcher Robbie Ross knew he needed some additional work to get ready to come into spring training and compete for a job in the starting rotation. So he went to winter ball, something guys with a few years in the big leagues don't normally do.

"(It was) just experiencing being a starter again, just going out there and getting some innings logged in," Ross said Friday before the Rangers awards banquet. "Also just getting stretched out to the point of feeling like ‘Here we go’ right into the possibility of being a starter and stretching out innings wise. Also having those days of rest getting ready. It was definitely a good experience just getting to go there, kind of get the different innings under my belt."

It has Ross feeling good as he prepares to go to Arizona in the next few weeks. Ross has been a reliever the past two seasons, posting a career 2.62 ERA in 127 innings in those two seasons. Last year, Ross struggled against left-handers, which hurt his ERA. He felt like he needed to refine his offspeed stuff and used his time this offseason to do some of that.

"I’ve always wanted to be a starter," Ross said. "That’s been my goal ever since I was younger, and when I got into the big leagues it was like at some point I’d like to start. I like being in the big leagues. Definitely, if I could do I as a starter that would be great, but I also like it as a reliever."

Ross, 24, said he isn't changing how he's approaching things from last spring training.

“I’m going to try and take it the same way, just come in ready to go and fight for a job and try to work hard," Ross said. "Just like every spring, everyone’s out there trying to do their best to get a spot and obviously there’s more opportunity right now for an open spot. Obviously you’ve just got to have the right mindset to remember that you’re here and try to do the best you can and enjoy it at the same time."