Robbie Ross kicked off the competition for the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation with a solid showing Friday. He was the lone candidate to throw in the spring opener, as he pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings against the Royals.

The other leading candidates will make their debuts today (Randy Wells) and Monday (Martin Perez, Justin Grimm). Kyle McClellan is in the mix, too, but he doesn’t have a scheduled day to pitch yet.

McClellan is dealing with soreness in his back and is still in recovery mode from shoulder surgery on July 10.

“You have to take your time to get back,” McClellan said. “The good news is the repair site is not a problem. A week ago, I felt great. But I haven’t faced hitters since May and this is part of the process.”

McClellan is being patient in his rehab process and there is still plenty of time for him to show he deserves the fifth spot. The Rangers are playing just their second of a franchise-record 38 spring games today.

Ross started what is expected to be a heated competition off well. He allowed only two base runners on an error and a single, throwing 32 pitches.

“It was the first game, so I just tried to throw strikes and get out of the innings as quickly as I could,” Ross said. “All three of my pitches – fastball, slider, changeup – felt good coming out.”