Fifth starter candidate: Justin Grimm

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: Justin Grimm

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Justin Grimm admitted that he had to change his goals and his outlook after he was plucked from Double-A to make a few starts in the big leagues in 2012.

“I didn’t expect that,” Grimm said of the promotion. “It made me super confident. It wasn’t in the plan last year to make the big leagues. I was trying to have a solid year in Double-A and figure that league out when I got the call. My whole world kind of changed. My perspective was different. I surprised myself. That’s what you go for every day, to surprise yourself with what you learned and what you can accomplish.”

Grimm, 24, knows he has an opportunity to alter his career track again with the Rangers' fifth starter spot up for grabs.

“There’s a lot of competition around this locker room,” Grimm said. “I’m going in with an open mind. There’s no reason to add pressure. I’m going to learn as much as I can from these other guys and take what I can with me into the season, whether that’s at the big league level or the minor leagues.”

One thing Grimm is hoping to add this season is a slider. He tried to throw the pitch some in 2012, but it didn’t take.

“I tried to pick it up mid-year last year and my command started going haywire because my fastball started cutting from trying to throw the slider,” Grimm said. “I took a step back and said I’d work on it in the offseason when I can work on my release point. That’s been going well. I’m excited to show them I’ve been working on it. I think it will be a good pitch this year. I’ve been refining that two-seam as well. I had it last year and I threw it quite a bit toward the end.”

Grimm was 9-3 with a 1.72 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) for Frisco last season in 83 2/3 innings pitched. He had 73 strikeouts and 14 walks. He was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in five games (two starts) for the Rangers and then finished the year with a 2-3 mark and a 4.59 ERA in 51 innings for Triple-A Round Rock.