ARLINGTON -- Robbie Ross Jr. isn't approaching Sunday afternoon's start against the Red Sox like it's the biggest one of his short career as a starter. But it could be an important one.
Ross is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his last four starts. His hold on a spot in the rotation could be tenuous. The Rangers have Joe Saunders close to returning from the disabled list and Nick Tepesch is pitching well for Triple-A Round Rock. Saunders made his second rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night. Tepesch is 6-1 with a 1.58 ERA in seven starts at Round Rock.
Washington said Ross is adjusting to having to get 27 outs as a starter. More work is resulting in more pitches to locate. Opponents are batting .379 with .976 OPS against him.
"Just inconsistent location," Washington said. "His location has been bad. He's not executing pitches like he did earlier. When you miss spots, you get hurt.''
Wash ready to jab Big Papi over error ruling
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was ready to give Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz some friendly ribbing about his postgame comments that he should have had two hits in Yu Darvish's near no-hitter on Friday night.
Ortiz broke up Darvish's no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning, a sharp single through the shift into right field. Ortiz and former Darvish teammate A.J. Pierzynski contend that Ortiz should have had a single and broken up the no-hitter in the seventh inning, when Big Papi's fly ball into shallow right field fell untouched between rookie second baseman Rougned Odor and right fielder Alex Rios.
"I will let David know when I get out there today," Washington said. "I know he was begging for a hit."
Ortiz said Friday night that "under the rules of baseball" he should have been awarded a single because the ball fell untouched. The game's official scorer, Steve Weller, used his discretion under Rule 10.12 to rule it an error. Odor, who was playing in a shift, backpedaled and seemed to settle under the ball. Rios came in as well, didn't call off Odor and backed off, resulting in the baseball hitting the ground.
"That ball off his bat was an out,'' Washington said.
Andrus revamps look, shaving long beard
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus has finally shaved his long, Abraham Lincoln-like beard, something that will thrill a contingent of Rangers fans who were looking for a change from the struggling shortstop.
Andrus said he isn't superstitious and his trimmed beard, which takes him back to his pre-2014 look, was inevitable. It's a coincidence that it comes with Andrus' underwhelming start to the season -- a .248 batting average with a .314 on-base percentage.
Andrus did have his first four-hit game of the season on Friday.
"It was something that I knew was going to happen," he said.
For his part, Andrus didn't get the big flap about his beard. Former teammate Mike Napoli, now with the Red Sox, jokingly said earlier in the season that Andrus' beard was "horrendous" and "terrible." Napoli, who has a long beard himself, told Andrus in the outfield during batting practice to lose the new look.
"It was just a beard," Andrus said.
• Yu Darvish isn't expected to need an extra day before his next start Wednesday against the Astros, after throwing 126 pitches Friday against the Red Sox. The Rangers do have an off-day on Thursday before their three-game home series against the Blue Jays, so they could give Darvish two extra days between starts if needed. "That will be predicated on how he feels when he throws again," manager Ron Washington said.
• Darvish retired the first 15 batters of a game for the fifth time since his Major League debut in 2012. No other pitcher has two such outings since the start of 2012, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
• Left-hander Joe Saunders made a rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night, allowing four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He had two strikeouts and allowed a home run.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.