SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was just a year ago that Robbie Ross came in as the young, longshot candidate for the left-handed spot in the bullpen. Ross had just 38 innings above Class A ball at that point and was just hoping he could show the coaching staff that he belonged.
"I came in thinking I’d be in the big league side for two or three weeks and it’d be over with and I’d go over and start being a starter again," said Ross, now 23 years old. "I always expected to go back to Triple-A."
But weeks turned into months and Ross ended up winning the left-handed bullpen job. He was 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 58 appearances (65 innings) with 47 strikeouts and 23 walks in his first year in the big leagues. That included a blistering first half in which he was 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA.
Now, he comes into spring training with major league experience behind him and a new goal: Earn the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Ross hopes to do that by using his blueprint from the 2012 camp. As he put it, he wants to "keep his edge."
"I want to keep that feeling that I have to work for my position. I have to work for the job that's at hand," Ross said. "That's what I want to do. And I think the best way to do that is not to let it get too much to my head. I want to come in and be ready to go."
Ross knows he has to increase his repertoire to start, so he's focused this offseason on his changeup and curve to make sure those can be key additions to his arsenal.
* LHP Neal Cotts is back in camp, hoping to win a job in the bullpen. Cotts was close to doing that last year before an injury set him back. Ross ended up getting that spot. Cotts joked that he feels good now that he's "attached." Various injuries have kept Cotts from getting a big league chance the past few years, but the 32-year-old was 2-1 with a 4.55 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock last year.
* Infielder Brandon Snyder showed up today carrying catching equipment into the clubhouse. Snyder said he's bringing everything with him, just in case he's needed in a variety of roles. That versatility is key to Snyder's value. He's a non-roster invitee to spring.
* Manager Ron Washington and the coaching staff are expected to arrive at some point later today and to begin to get workouts ready tomorrow.