In his first Spring Training with the Padres in 2013, Tyson Ross earned a spot in the starting rotation. He started three games and was serviceable before he suffered a left shoulder subluxation swinging the bat against the Dodgers.
Ross had to go to the disabled list, and by the time he got back, the starting rotation was set, so Ross headed to the bullpen. It turned out to be a tremendous turn of events.
"Oh, definitely," said Ross. "I was pitching out of the bullpen, but I was able to watch how the starters went about their business every five days. I had, basically, two months to learn while still being in the Big Leagues."
Ross was able to iron out a few mechanical things working in the bullpen with pitching coach Darren Balsley. When injuries thrust him back in to a starting role after the All-Star break, Ross was a different pitcher.
He gave up five runs in his next five starts, going at least six innings each time. Over the second half of the season Ross had a 2.93 ERA and averaged just under 10 strikeouts per nine innings. But, most impressive was his improved control.
In the first half of the year, Ross walked 21 batters in 45 innings. After the break, he walked 23 hitters in 80 innings. Add his finish to the one Andrew Cashner turned in, and the Padres have two pieces of the starting rotation they did not realize they had just 11 months ago.