Ross Leaves Arizona With Spot In Texas

ARLINGTON—The Rangers have made a habit out of adding a spring surprise to their Opening Day roster the past few years, and 2012 was no different.

Robbie Ross, a starter his entire career who had never pitched above Double-A, nabbed a spot on the 25-man roster after emerging from a crowd of nine lefthanders vying for one bullpen spot.

The 22-year-old benefitted from an injury to fellow lefty Neal Cotts only a day before camp broke, but Ross also posted the best numbers in the competition and made an impression with his makeup.

He was informed April 1, complete with some April Fools' Day antics, and two hours afterward had difficulty believing that his lifelong dream of pitching in the major leagues was about to come true.

"I feel like a kid on Christmas day," Ross said. "It's just like, 'Wow.' God is good. I'm thankful for what I've been blessed with. I'm thankful for my family and that they could share this with me. Calling them was awesome."

It was the first big league spring training for Ross, Texas' second-round pick in 2008 who was the pitcher of the year in the high Class A Carolina League in 2011 before finishing at Double-A Frisco. He was deemed a long shot for the roster, and admitted that he had no expectation of making the team when camp opened Feb. 23.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound lefty's performance from the start of spring training put him in the bullpen discussion, as the cutting action on his pitches and the tempo with which he pitched continued to pile up outs. He also forced the Rangers to decide wither it was best to continue developing him as a starter or give him a roster spot. After judging that he had the maturity to handle the jump, in addition to the 1.50 ERA he posted in 12 innings, the Rangers chose the latter option.

"He earned that spot. We didn't give him anything," manager Ron Washington said.  "I'm pretty excited about that. I like his maturity. I like his ability on the mound. Nothing ever changed, and he'll continue to do what he does."

Rangers Roundup

• Righthander Mason Tobin, the surprise addition to the Opening Day roster in 2011, was released March 30. He had been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at a private facility in Tempe, Ariz., this spring and never was present at the Surprise Recreation Campus before getting released.

• Beside Ross, third baseman Mike Olt also left his mark on Rangers coaches and players this spring. He showed that he could play first base, but also left a favorable impression with how much information he tried to absorb from club veterans. Olt opened the season at Frisco.