Randy Wells still trying to work into form

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Randy Wells knows he is close. If he could just get that third strike. If he could just not hang that one pitch. If he just grabbed a little bit less of the plate. While he has allowed his share of baserunners through his first three starts this spring, Wells has also consistently found a way to limit the damage.

Instead of Wells giving up strings of hits and walks that lead to big innings, opponents have had quick attacks during which they score a run, only to have Wells figure a way out of the jam.

"I'm almost there," said Wells, who gave up three runs in four innings in an 11-11 tie against the Dodgers on Thursday. "It's spring training and everything is magnified with the whole fifth starter thing. You're not as sharp as you want to be, but you want to keep getting better with each outing."

Wells said he was able to get ahead of batters thanks to his changeup, but admitted his mental effort was a little lacking when it came time to finish them off.

"I definitely need to work on finishing the inning and putting them away without letting them scratch out a run," Wells said.

Through three starts, Wells has allowed 16 baserunners and five earned runs in eight innings. With Robbie Ross pitching well and the chatter of the Rangers potentially going outside the organization for another arm to pitch in the fifth rotation spot, Wells knows he needs to perform well enough to win the job amid the usual ramp-up that occurs during spring training.

"I don't know a whole lot of people who come out after three spring training games and are in midseason form," Wells said. "It's tough for me because I want to pitch the best I can, but I have to keep remembering it's only March 7. There's still a lot of time.

"Obviously, opportunities are getting shorter and shorter, but at the same time you have to remember it's only spring training."