MESA, Ariz. -- Bruce Chen will get a prime-time chance to win a spot as the Rangers' fifth starter. Chen, who has a 0.77 ERA this spring, will start Friday's exhibition game against the Milwaukee Brewers, while Vicente Padilla will make his regularly scheduled start in a Minor League game. It will be the third straight start by a fifth-starter candidate, and the job is still open. Jamey Wright started on Wednesday and gave up four runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs. He faced 20 batters and 10 reached base on eight hits and two walks. Manager Ron Washington said after the Rangers' 11-7 loss that Wright was just "out of whack mechanically."
"That's the bad part about being a ground-ball pitcher: when the ground balls don't go right at anybody," said Wright, who gave up a run in the first and three more in the second. "The first two innings were as good as I've thrown and I've felt. If we all went out and put up zeros every inning, we'd all be Roger Clemens." Wright, whose ERA for the spring is now 4.63, will start again on Monday in what should be a big outing for him. The Rangers have to let him know by Wednesday if he'll be on the team or he can take his free agency. "That's part of the deal, I guess," Wright said. "Obviously I want to make this team real bad, but it's out of my control." Kameron Loe, who has not allowed an earned run in an exhibition game, pitches Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, while Opening Day starter Kevin Millwood pitches in a Minor League game. Padilla missed his last start because of elbow soreness but has since thrown twice off the mound in the bullpen and should be ready to go Friday. But the Rangers can watch him closer in a Minor League game and also give Chen another chance to show what he can do in an A game. "With Vinny, I can control the Minor League game, so that the pitch count stays where I want it," pitching coach Mark Connor said. Connor expects Padilla to throw 15-16 pitches per inning over five innings for a total of 75 pitches. He would make one more start against the Seattle Mariners next Wednesday before starting the second game of the season against the Angels on April 3. Robinson Tejeda may also make his next start in a Minor League game. He is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox in Tucson. But he already has made two starts this Spring in Tucson, and the Rangers may let him miss that trip. Instead, they would use all relievers in the game in Tucson. Young gets sutures out: Shortstop Michael Young had his sutures removed Wednesday and should be able to return to the lineup in the next day or two. Young had been unable to bat or wear a batting helmet since being hit by a pitch on March 15. Young was hit in the left side of the helmet by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd, causing a nasty laceration in the ear. The Rangers play in Tempe on Thursday, so Young likely will take one day of batting practice in Surprise before returning to the lineup Friday night. That still leaves nine games left in Spring Training.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.