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Ross' role decreases after stellar start to season

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers used six relievers in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Rays. Left-hander Robbie Ross was not one of them. Ross began the season one of the Rangers' primary late-inning left-handed relievers, but that is no longer the case.

He had a 0.37 ERA at the end of May, the lowest among any American League reliever, but has a 5.40 ERA in 37 outings since, while opponents are hitting .299 off him.

"It has obviously not been what I want it to be," Ross said. "It's been a good learning experience, because I've been struggling a little bit. Obviously it's been a hiccup in the road and I'm trying to figure it all out. I haven't had much adversity through my career. This year has been a tough lesson but I'm working through it and going to get better because of it."

Because Ross has been struggling, manager Ron Washington went with left-hander Joseph Ortiz in the 12th inning Wednesday night. Ortiz, who threw two scoreless innings Monday against the Rays, ended up taking the loss on Desmond Jennings' game-winning single.

"Obviously we're all out there wanting to win," Ross said. "I've gone through some stuff, and in those situations lately, I have not been great. Why not Ortiz? He's a good pitcher. He just didn't get it done. It happens."

Washington said his main concern with Ross has been the location and execution of his pitches.

"When I think there is a situation out there for him, I'll put him out there," Washington said.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger
Read More: Texas Rangers, Robbie Ross, Joseph Ortiz