Notes: Joe Nathan locked in as closer

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn't going to change his mind after one bad outing. He said Joe Nathan is locked in as the closer.

"Once again we’re in spring training," Washington said. "He has to develop his arm strength. He has to get a feel of what he's trying to do."

Nathan struggled in an inning of work against the Seattle Mariners on Monday. All three runs he allowed came on a homer to catcher Miguel Olivo. Nathan also walked two batters.

"In the next three or four times he gets the ball, I’m more than certain that he’ll be better than the last time he was out there," Washington said. "But the key is that he gets it locked in by the time we get to April."

Washington is taking the same approach to pitchers Koji Uehara and Mike Adams. Both pitchers had rocky outings against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

Uehara allowed two runs on three hits in the fourth. Adams gave up two runs on two hits and walked a batter in the sixth.

*Washington has been impressed with pitcher Robbie Ross, who pitched another scoreless inning Tuesday.

The winner of the Rangers' 2011 Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award hasn't allowed a run in four appearances. During his four innings of work, Ross has surrendered just three hits.

Washington likes Ross' pace on the mound. He said Ross keeps the ball down in the zone and can spot up his fastball. Ross has six strikeouts and no walks this spring.

"From what I’m seeing right now, he can spot it," Washington said. "When you can spot the ball, you can get away with a lot."

Washington said Ross would be brought up during the team's first staff meeting. However, the decision whether the non-roster invitee makes the team will not be solely up to Washington.

"This is one of our young kids that started in the minor leagues, he would be a discussion," Washington said. "It wouldn’t be a decision that I would make because I like something."