No front-runner in race for Rangers' final rotation spot

The SportsXchange

As the baseball world waits for Nolan Ryan (or others) to decide his future of lack of it with the Texas Rangers, the only other drama in the team's spring camp involves the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

No one had stepped up behind the established foursome of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. Injuries and inconsistency had plagued the candidates in the running for the No. 5 job, which could persuade the front office to see outside alternatives with two weeks left in spring training.

Martin Perez appeared to be an early favorite for the job, but he broke his left forearm after being hit by a line drive earlier this month. It could be early April before Perez climbs back on the mound.

Kyle McClellan has a history in the majors as a starter, and he appeared to be on the right track after throwing two scoreless innings in his spring training debut after missing three weeks recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. However, McClellan soon suffered a straining ribcage muscle, and he could be two months from throwing his next pitch.

Robbie Ross may not feel the same pressure as the some of the other healthy candidates in camp, such as Justin Grimm and Randy Wells. Ross is assured of a spot in the bullpen on Opening Day, but he wants to get back into the rotation.

"Honestly, I would love to be in that spot," Ross told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If I don't get that spot, I'm not going to be whining and complaining about it. I'll be fine wherever they want me to be.

"All these people say don't worry about right now because you never know what might happen in the next month. You just never know."

Grimm has a solid track record as a starter in the minors, but was knocked around in his first two starts of the spring before settling into a groove. Wells has a major league track record, but allowed too many baserunners in his innings this spring.

Whoever lands the job figures to be a caretaker in the rotation. Colby Lewis, who had right shoulder surgery last July, hopes to return to the rotation in May.
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