Ross claims spot as lefty in Rangers' bullpen

Ross claims spot as lefty in Rangers' bullpen

Ross claims spot as lefty in Rangers' bullpen
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rookie pitcher Robbie Ross has made the Rangers' bullpen as their only left-handed reliever. The Rangers told Ross he made the team before Sunday's game against the Padres.

Ross was competing with left-hander Neal Cotts and right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama for the final spot in the bullpen. But Cotts suffered a strained muscle in his left side during his outing against the Indians on Saturday night. Tateyama is also on the trainer's list. He has been dealing with stiffness in his lower back and hasn't pitched since allowing three runs in one inning against the Giants on Thursday.

"It is a possibility that Yoshi could end up on the DL," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll just see what happens in the next few days."

Ross, who has a 1.64 ERA in eight Cactus League games and is ranked No. 5 among the team's top prospects, joins a bullpen that will include closer Joe Nathan and right-handers Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe.

"Ross earned that spot," Washington said. "We didn't give it away. I'm excited about that. We don't like to hand it out, he earned it."

The injury to Cotts was the final obstacle in Ross' path. Cotts, who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues in two years and was signed at the beginning of Spring Training, was making a serious late bid to win a spot.

"Cotts was magic ... he was magical," Washington said. "Once Cotts went down, that made it clear Robbie Ross deserved it. I like his maturity, his demeanor on the mound ... nothing ever changes. Even when he hits a rough spot, he continues to do what he does, go after hitters."

Ross, a second-round pick out of high school in 2008, was 10-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 27 games at Double-A Frisco and Class A Myrtle Beach last season. Only six of those starts were at Double-A but now he is jumping directly to the Major Leagues.

"I'm like a kid on Christmas," Ross said. "When I got drafted, that was the best day of my life. When I got married, that was the best day of my life. Now this ... it's just amazing, I couldn't believe it. I was sitting in there thinking it was April Fools'. It has been awesome."