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TEX@SEA: Ross Jr. fans five in quality start

ARLINGTON -- Mark Buehrle is a left-hander who is not overpowering but commands four pitches, works quickly and throws strikes. He has put together an outstanding career with that as his foundation.

He is a good pitcher for Robbie Ross Jr. to watch closely.

"Any time any successful baseball player goes between the lines and you're in the dugout, you should be paying attention," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You should be trying to figure out how he's getting hitters out."

Ross will be more than watching on Saturday night. He will be on the mound for the Rangers when they go up against Buehrle, who is starting for the Blue Jays. Ross will be making his ninth Major League start after spending his first two seasons in the bullpen. Buehrle will be making his 438th start in a 15-year career.

Ross is 0-4 with a 7.76 ERA in his last five starts, allowing 43 hits in 26 1/3 innings. There was a point where it appeared that Ross was pitching his way out of the rotation. But with all the injuries that have hit the pitching staff, the Rangers need Ross to get turned around quickly in the rotation.

"I just have to go out there with the right mindset and not feel I have to do anything I'm not capable of doing," Ross said. "Just pitch my game, work quickly and get us back in the dugout."

Ross pitched against the Red Sox on Sunday and allowed four runs in the first two innings. Then he settled down and pitched four scoreless. He also retired the first two hitters in the seventh inning before giving up a home run to Dustin Pedroia that ended his afternoon. But he was encouraged by the strong finish.

"It was sink or swim time," Ross said. "I thought to myself, 'This is how I should feel, I need to take it into the next game.'"

Buehrle is 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his first eight starts after going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA in his first eight starts last season. One big difference is he has allowed just one home run through eight starts this season as opposed to 11 in eight last year.

"Why do you have to bring it up?" Buehrle said. "You don't ask too many questions, you just kind of go with it. I don't know, I don't feel like I'm pitching any different. I haven't changed anything. I'm throwing more under the hitting speed than I was last year but I don't know, I don't have an answer for it."

Buehrle beat the Angels, 7-3, in his last start, allowing three runs in six innings. He allowed six hits but walked five. It's only the fifth time in his career Buehrle has walked five batters in a game and the first since June 28, 2010. He has averaged 2.06 walks per nine innings in his career, third best among active pitchers with at least 1,500 innings.

"I figured it out, walk enough guys, they're not all going to score," Buehrle said. "It seems like the last couple of starts every time I've walked somebody they scored. I just walked five of them, I guess cross your fingers that they don't all score."

Rangers: Young to be honored
Former All-Star infielder Michael Young will be honored before Saturday's game with the Blue Jays. Young retired this offseason after a 14-year Major League career. He spent all but one with the Rangers, only after he was acquired in a trade from the Blue Jays in 2000 when he was still in the Minor Leagues.

Young was a seven-time All-Star with the Rangers and a five-time winner of the club's Player of the Year Award. He was with the Rangers from 2000-12 before being traded to the Phillies.

"The years we had our run of championships, he was in the middle of it," Washington said. "He made a difference in a lot of people's careers who had the opportunity to be around him. He was a professional and a leader. You never knew if things were going right or wrong. He always believed so the guys around him always believed. He meant a lot to us. It's a great thing the Rangers are doing."

Blue Jays: Gibbons supports Arencibia
Catcher J.P. Arencibia was in the Rangers' lineup on Friday night and playing against his former teammates. Arencibia was the Blue Jays' starting catcher the past three seasons before being non-tendered in the winter and signed by the Rangers.

Arencibia had a tough time in Toronto, including a feud with the broadcast media last year. But manager John Gibbons remains a big supporter even though he has seen Arencibia continue to struggle offensively with the Rangers.

"It's an ability to make some adjustments and he can do that, I've seen him do it," Gibbons said. "But you have to be committed to doing it. J.P.'s still on the younger side of the game too so he has time. He almost caught a no-hitter the other day too, so you can bash his defense all you want, but he almost caught a no-hitter.

"I'm a fan of his. I'll say this, he has been through some tough times but you know what, there's not a guy that shows up to play more than he does, every day. Beat up, he comes to play. He never made excuses. He got himself into a little bit of hot water but I can't fault his effort, ever."

Worth noting
• With a left-hander on the mound for the Rangers, the Blue Jays will likely start Steve Tolleson at second and Brett Lawrie at third on Saturday. Juan Francisco, who hits left-handed, started at third on Friday against right-hander Yu Darvish.

• Washington said switch-hitter Luis Sardinas will start at second base against Buehrle on Saturday. He will sub for left-handed-hitting Rougned Odor.

• The Rangers are 7-8 when the opponents start a left-hander while the Blue Jays are 6-6. Comments