Lefty Robbie Ross said that while he has no problem remaining a reliever in 2013, he would welcome the move to the rotation should he win the competition for the fifth spot in the Rangers' rotation. With Martin Perez out of the picture due to a fractured ulna bone in his left forearm, Ross has an opportunity to put himself in good position for the job during his scheduled four-inning start Wednesday against the Cubs.
Ross was sharp in his last outing Feb. 27, as he was one out from escaping with a scoreless three-inning performance before hanging a pitch to Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko that was hit for a two-run home run.
Other that that mistake, the 23-year old has done nothing to show he isn't ready to make the move to the rotation from the bullpen, where he established himself last season as one of the better set-up men in baseball.
"If Robbie takes the fifth spot, someone has to take his spot in the bullpen," manager Ron Washington said. "We are trying to put the best guys we have out there and fill some holes."
Alexi Ogando will follow Ross and make his third appearance and second start of the spring Wednesday. His spot in the rotation as the No. 4 starter is already set after pitching almost exclusively out of the bullpen in 2012.
Ogando is still rounding into the form that saw him go 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 29 starts two years ago. In his spring debut Feb. 22, Ogando struggled with his command and allowed three earned runs on two hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. He showed slight improvement in his second appearance Feb. 27, as the two runs he allowed were unearned, but he did give up three hits and walked a pair.
"The first time he was erratic, couldn't throw the ball in the strike zone. The next time he threw more strikes," Washington said. "This time I'd like to see Ogando down in the zone, throwing strikes, make them swing the bat, using his breaking ball and changeup."
Other game notes:
3B Adrian Beltre is in the lineup and will hit fourth, as he will during the regular season. Beltre was 1-for-3 with a double in his spring debut Monday. He will get the day off on Thursday after playing consecutive games.
Mike Olt was originally scheduled to hit eighth Wednesday while getting his second start in right field before being scratched later in the morning with an impacted wisdom tooth. Olt was replaced in the lineup by Julio Borbon, who will hit second. CF Craig Gentry, who was originally slated to hit in the 2-hole, was dropped to eighth.
OF Engel Beltre left Rangers camp Sunday to join his teammates in Florida and represent Spain in the World Baseball Classic.
The Rangers made the following roster moves today: Optioned RHP Roman Mendez to Frisco (AA); optioned RHP Matt West to Myrtle Beach (High-A); assigned RHP Cody Buckel and RHP Yonata Ortega to minor league camp. With the moves, there are now 53 players remaining in camp, with an additional six players at the World Baseball Classic.
RHP Tanner Scheppers threw in the 'B' game this morning and reported no problems.