Ross feeling strong as he racks up innings

Ross feeling strong as he racks up innings

PITTSBURGH -- On Wednesday, the large video board at Target Field in Minneapolis flashed the leaders in innings pitched in the National League.

Tyson Ross, who gets the start Sunday against the Pirates, was fourth with 154 2/3 innings, which is by far a career high for the Padres right-hander.

Not that he had any idea.

"I didn't know that," Ross said Friday.

Ross, who is tied with six others for the National League lead in starts (24), has already pushed past his previous career high in innings (125) from a year ago with no restrictions moving forward.

"I am aware I'm higher than I've been in the past, but I feel good, I feel strong and I actually feel like I'm getting better," Ross said. "I'm taking the season as an opportunity to learn and continue to grow. Every outing is a learning experience.

"As long as my body is feeling good … I'm looking forward to continuing to go and continuing to learn."

Only half of Ross' 24 starts have exceeded six innings. That's not by design, but more a function of how many pitches he throws. He can often find himself in high pitch counts because of strikeouts, and on those occasions when he has high walk totals.

Entering Friday, Ross was tied for fourth in the NL in strikeouts (157) and tied for sixth in walks (54).

At his current pace, Ross should eclipse the 200-inning mark, becoming just the fifth pitcher in manager Bud Black's eight seasons to do so. He would join Jake Peavy (2007), Clayton Richard (2010, 2012), Eric Stults (2013) and Jon Garland (2010).

He's holding up just fine as far as Black is concerned.

"Physically, he definitely is," Black said. "There's a mental component, too. He's built for that as well. He is a very good worker and has done a nice job repeating his delivery, which is good for a pitchers' health … He's not trying to overthrow."

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.