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Ross looks to secure rotation role Sunday

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ARLINGTON -- Robbie Ross Jr. isn't approaching Sunday afternoon's start against the Red Sox like it's the biggest one of his short career as a starter. But it could be an important one.

Ross is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his last four starts. His hold on a spot in the rotation could be tenuous. The Rangers have Joe Saunders close to returning from the disabled list and Nick Tepesch is pitching well for Triple-A Round Rock. Saunders made his second rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night. Tepesch is 6-1 with a 1.58 ERA in seven starts at Round Rock.

Washington said Ross is adjusting to having to get 27 outs as a starter. More work is resulting in more pitches to locate. Opponents are batting .379 with .976 OPS against him.

"Just inconsistent location," Washington said. "His location has been bad. He's not executing pitches like he did earlier. When you miss spots, you get hurt.''

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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