Rangers' Ross hopeful to begin throwing program

Rangers' Ross hopeful to begin throwing program

Rangers' Ross hopeful to begin throwing program
KANSAS CITY -- Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross, who is on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, went back to Texas on Wednesday to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister.

The Rangers described the visit as a "checkup" and Ross is hoping to begin a throwing program on Thursday if he is cleared by Meister.

Ross is 6-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 52 games for the Rangers and was placed on the disabled list last Friday more as a precautionary measure. Ross had some soreness in the forearm but said he could pitch through it. The Rangers decided not to take that chance, leaving them with Michael Kirkman and Martin Perez as their only left-handers in the bullpen.

The Rangers expect Ross back well before the end of the season.

"He has been a big piece for us, but Kirkman has certainly stepped up," manager Ron Washington said. "We need to throw that other kid [Perez] into the fire."

Kirkman has worked 10 2/3 scoreless innings over his last nine games with opponents hitting .114 off him in that stretch. He has pitched his way into consideration for being on the playoff roster. Kirkman and Ross would give the Rangers two left-handers in their postseason bullpen.

"They've certainly been instrumental for us," Washington said. "It's definitely something we'll consider."

That would make the competition even stiffer for the right-handed relievers to make the postseason roster.

Closer Joe Nathan and setup relievers Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando are guaranteed spots. Less certain are roles for Roy Oswalt, Mark Lowe, Tanner Scheppers, Koji Uehara and possibly Scott Feldman, who would likely move from the rotation to the bullpen for the playoffs.