Sources: Rangers are scanning market for a starting pitcher

The 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 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 Dodgers, Bud Norris of the Astros and possibly Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton of the 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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