SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed pitching prospect Robbie Ross is soaking up as much as he can in his first spring training with the big club. And that includes working on a curve ball.
Ross, 22, started the 2011 season in the Carolina League (Class A), where he won the ERA title and pitcher of the year after compiling a 2.26 ERA and a 9-4 mark in 21 games (20 starts) and 123 1/3 innings. A second-round pick in 2008, Ross was moved up to Double-A Frisco and was 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in six starts (38 innings). He had 36 strikeouts and five walks.
Here's a quick chat with Ross:
RD: Any particular pitch you've been working on this offseason?
RR: Yes. Before I left [Double-A] Frisco, I was talking to [pitching coach] Jeff Andrews about how everything I throw is the same speed. My changeup is hard; my slider is hard. He said I should get something where the timing is off a little bit.
RD: So that was a curve ball?
RR: It's a spike-curve, actually. All that means is how I hold it. It's not going to be a 12-6, but more like a 10-2. It's something that is slower than my changeup.
RD: What are the early reviews in camp about it?
RR: It's going well. But I did throw one right over Mitch Moreland's head on Sunday, so that didn't go too well. But other than that, I've had success. It's getting over the plate and giving the hitter something else to look at. So I've got a four-seamer, two-seamer, changeup, slider and curve now.
RD: What's it like to be at your first big league spring training?
RR: It's really cool. Being next to Colby [Lewis] has helped. He's been here a while now and he can tell me stuff. I'm seeing what these guys do and hopefully one day I can possibly be here. I just want to keep working and buidling off last year."