Bass' relief effort a bright spot in tough loss

Rangers looking to identify 5th starter

Bass' relief effort a bright spot in tough loss

SEATTLE -- Right-hander Anthony Bass once again had to take over for an ineffective starting pitcher on Sunday afternoon. This time he did more than just tidy up in a losing effort.

Bass could have earned his first win of the season but the Rangers let a 10-5 lead slip away in the last three innings. He also put his best argument forward for being added to the rotation after throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the Rangers' 11-10 loss on Sunday.

"Tough game right there," Bass said. "I just went out and did my job and got people out and hope it holds up for the win."

Bass allowed four hits and struck out three while lowering his ERA to 3.14. That's the second-lowest ERA among five pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched on the Rangers' staff. That gives the Rangers something to think about as they try to re-assemble their rotation.

"Bass is throwing the ball really well," manager Jeff Banister said. "I can't say enough about what he has done. It's a role he fits into and is comfortable with. We'll evaluate every situation and see how he continues to pitch out of the bullpen."

Three off-days in a period of eight days have allowed the Rangers to go with a four-man rotation for now. They won't need a fifth starter until April 28 but would be hard-pressed to identify that guy right now. Their pool of starting candidates has shriveled significantly since the beginning of Spring Training because of major injuries to Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Nick Tepesch and Lisalverto Bonilla.

Anthony Ranaudo is a candidate but Bass had to rescue him last Wednesday when he allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings. Ranaudo has since returned to Triple-A Round Rock. Also at Round Rock are veteran Wandy Rodriguez and top pitching prospect Alex Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, Detwiler's spot in the rotation might not be secure. He allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings and has a 10.95 ERA after three starts. But the Rangers have enough trouble trying to identify a fifth starter. Detwiler's spot comes up again on Saturday against the Angels.

"We're going to continue to work with Ross," Banister said. "We'll continue to have him come out and start and look for him to continue to improve."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.