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Ross adds changeup to complement go-to pitches

CINCINNATI -- Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who earned the win on Saturday against the Reds, has been working on a project throughout the season. Looking to expand his arsenal, Ross has added a changeup to go with his fastball and slider.

Saturday marked Ross' fourth start since moving back to the rotation out of the bullpen. Although he used the changeup sparingly in the win -- his third in in those four starts -- he said he's becoming more comfortable with the pitch.

"I was able to mix that in, keep the lefties off balance a little bit," Ross said. "It's going to be a pitch I'm going to continue developing, and I'm starting to trust it a little bit."

San Diego manager Bud Black expressed the importance of adding a third pitch, especially as Ross works to become a full-time starter.

"He pitches aggressively with the fastball, and the slider has been outstanding since he's come back and joined our rotation," Black said of Ross. "But for him, I think the changeup will be critical as a pitch to really complement his other two pitches."

Ross has recognized he won't be able to get by as a starter with just two pitches, and Black said he appreciates the 26-year-old right-hander's willingness to work and make himself a better pitcher. Black said he also likes the action Ross has on his changeup, which moves down and away from left-handed batters, though he would like for him to slow it down by a couple miles per hour to better contrast the speed of his fastball.

Black admitted it's not easy to develop a pitch in the middle of the season, but he said Ross has been effective at throwing it only when he feels comfortable doing so.

"When you're a pitcher and you're working on a technique or something, and there's 40,000 people in the stands and the count is 2-2 in the seventh inning and you're facing Joey Votto, you can't just say, 'Well, I'm going to work on my changeup here,'" Black said. "It's a process, but he understands he has to do it. You pick your spots, you do it in certain counts, you do it in certain game situations and hopefully there's enough types of games where you can continue to use it and get better at it."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for
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