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Robbie Ross, 2014 Texas Rangers
Robbie Ross has impressed all spring while trying to earn a spot in the Texas Rangers' highly questionable starting rotation that's growing more and more iffy by the day.
On Tuesday in his final spring start, Ross turned in a gem, pitching seven scoreless innings on just 89 pitches and struck out eight batters to make a strong case for the rotation.
“He was awesome,” manager Ron Washington told reporters in Goodyear, Ariz. “He maintained his focus, his velocity and his command. He’s been awesome all spring.”
That's quite a vote of confidence for a guy that burst onto the scene in 2012 as a great reliever and then went through a rough stretch last season that almost cost him his spot on the big-league roster and had Washington severely lacking in confidence in the lefty.
With Tanner Scheppers already assured a spot in the starting rotation, Ross is likely to become the second high-leverage reliever shifted to the rotation this spring, with Alexi Ogando going back the other way. It puts the bullpen in a bit of a bind, but gives the rotation a bit more certainty.
You hate to see pitchers jerked around back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen and back, see Neftali Feliz and Ogando, but you have to imagine at least one of Scheppers and Ross will be back in the bullpen once reinforcements come in the form of Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, and possibly even Colby Lewis, who will stay in extended spring training after starting Wednesday's Cactus League finale.