Thursday, March 21, 2013
Robbie Ross out of mix for No. 5 SP
By Ron Matejko
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- LHP Robbie Ross pitched one inning in a minor league game on Thursday, as he was officially removed from consideration for the open fifth-starter spot in the Texas Rangers' rotation. He will instead pitch out of the bullpen for the second consecutive season.
"We look at the makeup of our bullpen, and we feel like Robbie did a good job there," manager Ron Washington said. "He was still in the process of trying to find his legs, and trying to find the comfort of being a starter.
“We're at a time right now where we have to get him going for the position that he's going to play, and that's in the bullpen."
In 2012, Ross was a surprise out of spring training, as he earned a spot in the Rangers' bullpen as a non-roster invitee. Ross pitched well during his rookie season in Texas and emerged as one of the better setup men in baseball. In 58 appearances, he posted a 6-0 record with a 2.22 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 65 innings.
Ross allowed just 10 of 45 inherited runners to score (22.2 percent), which was the 10th-best percentage in the American League. He ranked tied for first among A.L. relievers with 11 grounded into double plays.
As a starter this spring, Ross got off to a good start but struggled during his last two outings. He had a respectable 3.07 ERA in 14.2 innings, but saw an increase in hits allowed and walks.
The three remaining candidates for the No. 5 starter job are Justin Grimm, Nick Tepesch and Randy Wells. Washington said he will also keep Derek Lowe stretched out, but stopped at calling him a candidate for the role.
Washington doesn't have to name his fifth starter during spring training and has a little extra time, as the Rangers won't need a pitcher in that slot until April 9, thanks to two early off days.
Tepesch will continue to be stretched out and is scheduled to pitch six innings with a 90-pitch limit on Friday.
Lowe will start Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels and is scheduled to throw three or four innings. He tossed three scoreless innings on Monday night, when he made an emergency start in place of Yu Darvish, who was scratched with a stiff neck.
Other team notes:
Numerous members of various major league front offices and players attended a private screening of the movie "42" in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday night. The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson and focused on the path he blazed to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.
One of the players who represented the Texas Rangers was Julio Borbon. The outfielder admitted seeing the challenging situations Robinson faced on a daily basis gave him an even greater respect for and understanding of what the Hall of Famer did to not only make a great impact on baseball, but on society as a whole.
"I liked the movie, I really got caught up in it," Borbon said. "I know they only offered a glimpse of what he went through, but I suggest anyone who loves the game see what this piece of baseball history is all about."
“42” is scheduled for nationwide release on April 12. The film stars Harrison Ford, who portrays Branch Rickey, and newcomer Chadwick Boseman, who did an excellent job playing Robinson.
--Leonys Martin left camp last weekend and now has been approved for United States residency.
--Joe Ortiz and Nate Robertson saw their scoreless springs come to an end during a minor league game today with Round Rock (AAA). Ortiz allowed four runs, two earned, in one inning. Robertson allowed two runs, one earned, in one inning.
--With Nelson Cruz back in Rangers camp, Thursday marked the first time the starting lineup resembled what will likely be the batting order during the regular season.
--Texas has posted two of its three highest single-game hit totals in the past four games (17, Monday vs. K.C.; 14 on Sunday, at Chicago in Las Vegas).
--RHP Colby Lewis (surgery - torn flexor tendon) and Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery) are both throwing bullpen sessions.
--C Eli Whiteside (mild left calf strain) returned to action in a minor league game on Tuesday for Round Rock (AAA). He was sidelined since Feb. 27 and has not appeared in an A game since then.
--LHP Martin Perez (fractured left ulna) is not expected to resume a throwing program for two to three weeks.
--RHP Kyle McClellan (strained lat muscle) is not expected to resume a throwing program for three to four weeks.