Robbie Ross is accepting of his current role, yet he still longs for something else.
Ross struggled last season with the Texas Rangers after being converted from a reliever into a starter. The failed experiment did little to leave a bad taste in his mouth, as Ross, who is competing for a spot in the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen this spring, still views the rotation as a potential long-term destination.
“I still want to start,” Ross recently told WEEI.com’s John Tomase in Fort Myers.
But what about the 1-6 record, 5.70 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 12 career starts?
“I wanted to start,” Ross said. “I still do. But as of right now, I’ve come into camp as a reliever, and that’s what I’m going to work on and try to do the best I can.”
Ross certainly has had much more success as a reliever despite a disappointing 2014 season overall. The 25-year-old, who was acquired over the offseason in exchange for pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo, owns a 3.27 ERA in 138 career relief appearances. He posted a 2.62 ERA in 123 appearances between 2012 and 2013.
Ross spent time at Triple-A last season, going 5-4 with a 4.33 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts). While the numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, the young southpaw worked on things that could prove beneficial down the road if he ever receives another shot at starting.
“Obviously it wasn’t a good year at the beginning of the year when I had the struggles I did,” Ross told Tomase. “But I feel going back to Triple-A and wrapping my head back around the starting role and trying to figure it out again really helped. That was the biggest thing, just the mentality.
“You might not always have your best stuff, and you realize some adversity might come your way. It was a lot of mental stuff, just trying to get over the outcomes that I had in the big leagues, just trying to remember that.”
Ross, who is particularly tough on right-handers, could find himself pitching out of Boston’s bullpen for most, if not all, of 2015. His ultimate goal hasn’t changed, though.
It’s not how you start… Or maybe it is.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images