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Robbie Ross ready for starting debut

04/01/2014 8:31 PM

04/01/2014 8:32 PM

Robbie Ross will likely see a familiar face in his starting debut -- Phillies leadoff man Ben Revere.

Ross and Revere grew up together in Lexington, Ky., playing on the same summer league teams and against each other in high school. It’s also the Phillies player Ross is most familiar with in the big leagues.

Ross has faced Revere three times in his career, with Revere’s lone hit being a double back in 2012. The only other Phillies he’s seen are Marlon Byrd (0 for 1) and Jayson Nix (0 for 1).

“Ben is the exact same as he was in high school ... he could absolutely fly and had gap-to-gap power,” Ross said. “He’s scrappy and always tough to get out.”

Revere is a left-handed batter, too, something that Ross struggled with at times last season. He spent spring working on keeping his fastball inside to left-handed batters and saw improved results.

Equally important, Ross showed an improved changeup, worked out of jams and went deep into games by being economical with his pitches.

All that earned the 24-year-old Ross a spot in the starting rotation and he’ll be making his starting debut Wednesday. He’s had a track record of starting success in the minor leagues and is looking to carry that into the big leagues after spending two years in the bullpen.

Ross, a 2008 second-round draft pick out of Lexington [Ky.] Christian High School, went 26-20 with a 2.88 ERA over 69 games (68 starts) in three seasons in the minor leagues. He had a 2.62 ERA over 123 relief appearances in the big leagues in 2012-13.

“Just excited, man,” Ross said. “It’s going to be a fun time to go out there and start in a real game that counts. I’ve just got to not try to do too much or over-impress or put too much pressure on myself. Just enjoy it.”

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