Notes: Elvis Andrus returns to action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The latest chapter in the battle for the Texas Rangers' fifth spot in the rotation will be written today when Randy Wells makes his first start and second appearance of the spring.

A number of players are in contention for the spot, but Wells and Kyle McClellan are the only ones with more than two major league starts. McClellan is yet to pitch due to a sore shoulder.

Fellow candidates Martin Perez and Robbie Ross have impressed during the early portion of the 2013 Cactus League season and Wells aims to keep pace with a strong outing during his three innings of work today against the Seattle Mariners.

"This competition is going to be pretty tough, but it is a good position to be in," Wells said. "It's tough because you don't want to feel like every pitch you make or every mistake is going to determine whether or not you make the team. I just have to go out there and relax and have fun."

Wells had a good spring debut in his first outing since undergoing elbow surgery last July. The right-hander pitched two innings and allowed one run but wasn't hit especially hard. The only run he allowed was manufactured. Wells finished strong by ending the threat of a bigger inning with a double play.

The 30-year old signed a minor league deal with Texas in December after spending parts of the last three season with the Chicago Cubs. He owns the most major league experience among the candidates with 86 starts in five MLB seasons. While that experience will aid Wells in knowing how to perform as a starter, it won't necessarily give him in edge in earning the fifth spot.

"He is out there trying to impress just like everyone else," said manager Ron Washington. "Of course his experience does come into play but when it comes down to it, it is going to be a group evaluation and we'll all get in on the decision. We know what he did, but there is competition for that spot and it will be the best guy we give it to."

Wells owns a career record of 28-32 with a 4.08 ERA and has struck out 345 batters in 529 innings pitched.

Other notes:

  • Mike Olt remains in the Texas lineup but will return to third base after making his spring debut in right field Thursday.

  • Lance Berkman is receiving a scheduled off today. He is on an every-other-day schedule while Texas officials monitor him after returning Thursday from a week layoff due to a sore calf. Berkman is slated to play three innings Saturday.

  • Elvis Andrus returns to the lineup and will bat second after a two-day layoff, including a missed day on Thursday from arm soreness due to a new tattoo.

  • Texas has scored 18 runs in its last two games after plating 17 in its first four spring games.

  • Rangers Hall of Famers Rusty Greer and Kenny Rogers, along with Mark McLemore, joined the team today as special instructors for a week.