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Robbie Ross Makes Opening Day Bullpen

Earlier today I brought up the Rangers' "battle" for the final spot in the bullpen, and thanks to the magic of live blogging, that discussion is already irrelevant.

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Per Drew Davidson (via Adam Morris), and verified by others, Robbie Ross will be making the opening day roster as the Rangers' sole left-handed reliever. Once again, his is not a completely comforting decision -- costing the Rangers a spot on the 40 man roster, and giving bullpen innings to someone with 38 whole innings above A ball -- but neither were any other options. On the plus side, it is always fun to watch a fairly interesting prospect make his debut.

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In discussion the news, Adam made a good point:

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While there's been some labeling of this role as a "LOOGY" role, the Rangers, Ron Washington, and Mike Maddux have all emphasized that they aren't looking for a lefty specialist. Ross won't be a LOOGY...he'll be a middle reliever, probably used more often when lefties are due up, but expected to get both lefthanders and righthanders out.

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He's most likely correct (though I believe the term LOOGy has come largely simply to mean left handed middle reliever), and Ross will probably be used for more than just retiring left handers in high-leverage situations.

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Ross allowed 28 walks and just one home run against 98 strikeouts over 123.1 innings in Myrtle Beach last season, good for a 2.26 ERA and 2.54 FIP. His 127 tRA+ ranked second among all Carolina League starters, in fact. Then he moved up to Frisco late in the season, and actually improved his strikeout and walk rates.

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Anyway, congratulations to Ross! We wait and see who gets taken off of the 40 to make room.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.