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."
Cotts to get MRI; Rangers scratch Torrealba
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Neal Cotts underwent further evaluation on Sunday, and it has been determined that he will have to stop throwing for at least 10 to 14 days.
He will also undergo an MRI on Monday to determine if he has something more than a strained muscle in his left side.Cotts, whose chances of being on the Opening Day roster were growing with each outing, strained his lat muscle during Saturday's one-inning outing against the Reds. "We're going to get an MRI so we can rule out that it's not anything more serious," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. Catcher Yorvit Torrealba was scratched from Sunday's lineup after taking multiple foul balls off his body in Saturday night's game against the Indians. Torrealba said he would be playing if this were a regular-season game. Josh Hamilton also remains sidelined with a tight left groin muscle. He has not started the past two days, but he is taking batting practice. The Rangers are not concerned that Hamilton will miss Opening Day on Friday. Third baseman Adrian Beltre was able to return to the lineup on Sunday after missing three games. He last played on Wednesday.
Numbers at end of spring not concern for Cruz
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz went into Sunday's game against the Padres hitting .245 with a .377 slugging percentage for the spring. He also had just one home run, but that is hardly unusual for him. Cruz finished last spring hitting .226 with one home run and a .371 slugging percentage.Then he ended up hitting .263 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs during the regular season. He also finished with a .509 slugging percentage, so Cruz is not particularly concerned about his performance this spring. "Why do I have to be worried about Spring Training?" Cruz said. "If this happened during the regular season, then I would be worried. Last year I hit one home run in Spring Training and it was just two days before we left. It's no big deal. We're all working on different things. It's all about getting better." The biggest concern is keeping Cruz on the field because of his multiple problems with hamstring injuries over the past two years. But so far this spring he has not had any problems. "I feel healthy," Cruz said. "I feel my legs are better than they have been the past few years."
Moreland giving strong spring finish at plate
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are seeing Mitch Moreland at his best at the end of Spring Training.
Moreland, going into Sunday's final game, has been on a roll in his last 10 games, and he punctuated that with his third home run of the spring on Saturday night against the Indians.Moreland's home run hit off the roof at of the picnic pavilion well beyond the right-field fence at Goodyear Ballpark. Moreland, in his last 10 games, is hitting .407 (11-for-27) with two home runs, six RBIs, five walks and four strikeouts. "I feel good," Moreland said. "I've been in a good groove lately. I'm feeling good at the plate and I'm trying to build on that." Moreland had offseason surgery on his right wrist and there might have been some doubts about that at the beginning of camp. There are no more. "There wasn't any doubt in my mind that the wrist was better," Moreland said. "It was just a matter of finding my approach again, getting comfortable, seeing the ball and hitting it."
Kinsler, Rangers continue talks on extension
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers and agent Jay Franklin continue to discuss the possibility of a long-term contract extension for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
It is the only active conversation the Rangers have going right now as far as contracts with any of their players. Franklin has told the Rangers that Kinsler would prefer not to negotiate during the season."One week to go," said Kinsler, who added he is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. "I'm neutral." He is signed through this season, but the Rangers have a $10 million option on him for 2013 that almost assuredly will be picked up unless unforeseen circumstances arise this season.
The Rangers finished Cactus League play with a home attendance in Surprise of 104,443 in 14 dates for an average of 7,460, the team's highest spring average ever in any park.
Last year, club averaged 6,900 (103,507) over 15 dates at Surprise Stadium.
The Rangers still have not made an official decision on who will be their utility infielder: Alberto Gonzalez or Luis Hernandez. Left-hander Tim Murphy is the scheduled starter for Double-A Frisco for Wednesday's game against the Rangers. Yu Darvish is pitching for the Rangers, and the game is in Frisco, Texas.
Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry and Brandon Snyder are still competing for two spots on the bench. The Rangers also continue to look for a right-handed-hitting outfielder although the club is not close to anything. The Rangers also aren't talking to the Cubs about Marlon Byrd, who is reportedly available. The Rangers, with five wins in their last six games going into Sunday, will avoid matching or breaking the club record for losses in the Cactus League.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.