Ross trying to control tempo on the mound

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There was a lot to like from Tyson Ross's last outing on Tuesday, when he tossed three scoreless innings against the Dodgers.

It marked the first time in three spring outings that the Padres' rotation hopeful made an appearance without allowing a run.

"I was able to go out there and get a couple of zeros, which has eluded me. I'm trying to build off that," he said. "Physically, still feel really good. Now I'm starting to string together a few more pitches. I think I'll be fine."

The race for the fifth spot in the starting rotation is wide open at this point and Ross, who was acquired in November from the A's, is in the thick of the competition.

Ross allowed two runs in two innings in his first appearance on Feb. 23 and then yielded three runs over three innings on Feb. 28. And while he walked two in his three-inning stint against the Dodgers, he felt it was his best performance to date.

"Really, I'm just trying to get my tempo down, my timing. I'm a big, tall guy with a lot of moving parts," said Ross, who is 6-foot-6. "When things are starting to take off is when I mishandle the zone or have the ball off the plate."

Ross has been working closely with pitching coach Darren Balsley on controlling his tempo while on the mound.

"It's been going good on the side," Ross said. "But in game situations, when you've got a batter 60 feet from you, it's hard. It's a little off. I need to slow myself down to get everything timed up right."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.