Sources: Rangers are scanning market for a starting pitcher

The Texas Rangers are scanning the market for a starting pitcher, officials on other teams said.

The Rangers have kept in contact with free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse and been linked to Detroit Tigers starter Rick Porcello , who's pitching well while batting for the Tigers' No. 5 starters job.

For now though, the battle in Rangers' camp is between Robbie Ross and non-roster invite Nick Tepesch. One person familair with the Rangers' thinking called that competition a "dead heat.'' Officials on other teams suggest they believe the Rangers may prefer to keep Ross in the bullpen, where he thrived as a rookie last year, going 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA.

"We're open to it, but I expect we'll start with what we have,'' general manager Jon Daniels said about the possibility of acquiring a starter.

There's also some sentiment from a couple Rangers people that Alexi Ogando might be better off going back to the bullpen, but the main decision makers don't adhere to that belief.

The Rangers' need for a starter increased when top prospect Martin Perez suffered a broken arm when he was hit by a line drive in a spring game a couple weeks ago.

Texas has kept in contact with Lohse, especially after the Perez injury. Porcello is liked but would require a top player or prospect going to Detroit. Other starters who could be available include Aaron Harang , Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly of the Los Angeles Dodgers , Bud Norris of the Houston Astros and possibly Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles .

Colby Lewis is said to be ahead of schedule after surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his elbow last season and should be back sometime in the first half.

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