LAS VEGAS -- Rookie left-hander Robbie Ross, who has emerged as a candidate for the bullpen, made his first start of the spring on Sunday against the Brewers in Phoenix and was roughed up. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits. He also walked one and struck out one before Michael Kirkman took over.
"First I was up in the zone a little bit, and I had to get more comfortable and work down," Ross said. "Overall, it felt good coming out of my hand. Sometimes it's up and sometimes it's down. I felt good today.
"I was just trying to attack the batters. I don't know any of these guys well enough to try to pitch around them in different ways. I thought, 'Why not go out and throw strikes and see what happens with the infield and outfield we've got?' It's a lot easier to pitch when you have guys behind you that can make plays."
Ross entered the game having not allowed a run in four innings over four appearances. He had allowed three hits, not walked a batter and struck out six. Even though he has pitched just six games at the Double-A level, club officials are willing to consider him for a spot in the bullpen.
"He was aggressive, went right after these guys," bullpen coach Andy Hawkins said. "He just didn't have the command that he had earlier in camp. I liked his approach and liked his attitude. He has a good head on his shoulders.
"He recognized those guys at the plate today, but he didn't back off from them. He came right at them. I didn't see any intimidation, and I didn't see any fear. He just didn't quite have the command, or otherwise he would have had a pretty good time out there."