Fifth starter candidate: Kyle McClellan

Editor's note: This is an occasional series of blogs looking at some of the candidates for the fifth starter spot on for the Texas Rangers in 2013.

Today's candidate: Kyle McClellan

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Kyle McClellan knew something was wrong with his shoulder in 2011, despite repeated tests and MRIs showing nothing out of the ordinary.

He hoped it would go away and it did, for a short time, after he received an injection last spring. But shortly after the season started, shoulder issues turned into elbow pain.

“I couldn’t get my elbow above my shoulder, which created the pain and without knowing I was dropping my arm angle, causing the elbow soreness,” McClellan said.

Finally, doctors told McClellan they just needed to see what was going on. They found the problem with his shoulder (a torn capsule) through surgery in July and he needed four months of rehab.

“I was relieved because I knew something wasn’t right and it was able to be fixed,” McClellan said.

He took December off and is now building his arm strength back up, going through 16 or 17 bullpen sessions since. McClellan was a dependable member of the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation for five seasons, but does have some starting experience. He was 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 starts two years ago.

“My repair feels great,” McClellan said. “Now I’m dealing with I haven’t thrown since May. Throwing isn’t like riding a bike. I’m getting my muscles used to throwing again.”

McClellan is one of the candidates for the fifth starter spot, though he could end up in the bullpen if he doesn’t earn that job. Does it matter to McClellan?

“I don’t care,” McClellan said. “I’ve done a little bit of both. I didn’t sign here because I felt like I had a better opportunity to start here over somewhere else. I signed here because it was a place that I felt my family would be comfortable. It was an opportunity to win, an opportunity to reestablish myself in the big leagues. Whatever that is, whether it’s in the rotation or bullpen, is for them to decide. The biggest thing is for me to show I’m healthy and that I can be a contributing piece in a major league club.”