When Joseph Ortiz made the Texas Rangers' big-league roster heading into the 2013 season as a left-handed reliever, it was pretty shocking. In fact, it was the second straight year the Rangers had put a young lefty reliever on the Opening Day roster that no one really expected to be there entering spring training.
Robbie Ross had done the same thing entering the 2012 season and he had a stellar year, then returned in 2013 to have a better-than-average one. He's got a firm hold on a spot on the Rangers' Opening Day roster, whether it be as a reliever or a starter. Ortiz, well, he doesn't.
Ortiz was a bright spot for a few weeks in April last year, when he retired seemingly every hitter he faced, but then things turned sour in a hurry and he was sent down to the minors before bouncing back and forth a couple of times and never seeing any more leverage situations.
The 23-year-old lefty is hoping to find a spot on the roster again in 2014, but he has to show he's improved dramatically against left-handed hitters, the people left-handed relievers are pretty much employed to get out, generally speaking.
With Michael Kirkman, Ross, Jason Frasor, Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and possibly Alexi Ogando in the bullpen, the room for someone like Ortiz is minimal at best. It could be another season in the minors for Ortiz, barring injury.