SURPRISE, Ariz. — The final two spots in the Texas Rangers’ rotation have been two of the biggest areas of concern this spring, but the performances by Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando on Wednesday helped soothe some worried minds.Each turned in his best performance to date, and Lance Berkman hit his first Cactus League homer as the Rangers hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 at Surprise Stadium.Ross’ effort — one run on a solo homer and three other hits in four innings — rates as the best by any of the candidates to be the No. 5 starter, and Ogando used his off-speed pitches to help him wiggle out of his three-inning stint with only one run allowed.“That home run, I could have done without that, but I settled down and just tried to throw strikes,” said Ross, who has put a curveball back in his repertoire. “It’s gotten a lot better. I didn’t throw it last year. I’m just trying to get the feel of it again.”Ogando had success with his slider and changeup to pile up six strikeouts. He escaped the seventh inning with no harm done despite allowing Cubs to reach second and third with no outs.Manager Ron Washington said that despite the early concerns by some in camp, Ogando is not going to the bullpen.“Unless he gets hurt,” Washington said. “Ogando is our fourth starter. I always felt good about him. It’s spring training, and you just try to get better every time out. He’s done that.”Berkman’s solo shot as a right-handed hitter gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the third inning after Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler had driven in runs an inning earlier.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST