Reaction: Robbie Ross focused on starting

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
6:09
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross knows that making the transition from reliever to starter isn't necessarily an easy one. But Ross is only thinking about building up his arm and making sure his workout routine is set so that he can win a rotation job and pitch more innings this season. He knows other relievers-turned-starters have struggled at times to keep up with the workload.

"You're just trying to work as hard as you can to stay strong, try to do what the guys tell you to do and go out there and get all the workouts in you have to get in, eat right and do the things you have to do to maintain," Ross said. "I think it's more along the lines of trying to get strong. That's all you can do."

Ross gave up one run on two hits with a walk in his two innings of work in the Chicago White Sox's 9-7 win. He said he threw a few changeups and a curve ball as he tried to work those pitches in while he was out there.

"I feel good and I'm just making sure I get my work in," Ross said.

He admitted that he feels like with the injury to Derek Holland and the fact that there's a lot of camp left that he has a better chance at making the rotation than he did last year.

Lillibridge making impression: We talked about Michael Choice's good early spring showing Saturday and the other noticeable player this spring so far is Brent Lillibridge. He had two more singles Sunday and was solid in the infield. He's taking advantage of the opportunity, at least so far, as the Rangers figure out those final roster spots.

Scheppers pleased: Former setup man Tanner Scheppers said his back felt good and he looked comfortable, allowing one hit and one strikeout in two innings of work.

"Being at spring training, kind of felt rusty with everything and that was my first time throwing with J.P. (Arencibia), something I enjoyed and we were figuring out each other," Scheppers said. "But it was good. Just a little rusty."

Two-strike approach: It's something the Rangers did a decent job of last season, finishing tied for fifth in the AL with a .187 with two strikes in the count. On Sunday, they were particularly effective early. The club had four hits with two strikes in the first two innings, including two singles by Lillibridge. Prince Fielder (golfing one that was low and outside to right-center) and Adrian Beltre had the other two-strike singles.

Hit by pitch: Both Ross and Scheppers started their outings by hitting a batter. Ross hit Adam Eaton with a 2-1 fastball and Scheppers nailed Avisail Garcia with the first pitch he threw in the third inning (at 94 mph). Scheppers also hit Tyler Flowers. None of the three batters that were hit ended up scoring.

Top-4: The Nos. 1 through 4 hitters in the Rangers lineup enjoyed batting against Chicago White Sox starter Felipe Paulino. Jurickson Profar, Lillibridge, Fielder and Beltre were 8-for-8 with seven singles and a double. That group accounted for four RBIs and three runs scored in those innings.

Quick step: Adam Rosales doesn't like to waste any time. The No. 9 batter, playing shortstop for Elvis Andrus on Sunday, sprinted to first base after drawing a walk and then sprinted to second after a balk was called. Apparently, he likes to run fast whenever he can. Rosales also made a nice defensive play, sprinting in and making a good, off-balance throw to get Jose Abreu in the third.

Briefly: Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a 2-run homer in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie. ... Nick Castellanos made a nice play on a foul ball, eluding the tarp to make a catch in the eighth. ... The Rangers had a two-run lead in the ninth, but the White Sox scored five runs off Nate Adcock and Scott Richmond to get the win.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.92 159 126
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .880
ERAY. Darvish 2.92
SOY. Darvish 159