"I'm doing everything I can to establish myself as a winning pitcher at the front of a game as I have at the back end. We still have a couple of weeks left in camp. There is a lot of stuff going on but I'm focused on what I'm doing."The Rangers officially have two spots in the rotation open now that Tommy Hunter is sidelined with a strained oblique muscle in his left rib cage. Wilson and Harrison have pitched the best of all candidates for those two spots. Wilson has pitched nine innings and allowed four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out eight. He has also been economical and efficient with his pitch counts. In his last outing against the Cubs, he threw 47 pitches in four innings. The plan for Monday is five innings and 87 pitches. "I want to go more than five and less than 87 pitches," Wilson said. "I'm on a pretty good roll with my pitching efficiency. The work and preparation is paying off. But it doesn't matter how I'm pitching in March. It's July, August and September that count." March matters if he wants a spot in the rotation and the mandate given to Wilson this spring was lowering his pitch counts. He has done that. "I'm not walking anybody," Wilson said. "That's four less pitches here or there. But when you are a setup reliever or a closer coming into a tie game or close game, you come in with the mentality that you can't allow a hit or you can't allow a ball out of the infield. "I'm not saying you're nibbling but you're trying to make the nastiest pitch on the corner of the strike zone, pitches that are barely strikes, barely hittable or not hittable at all. Try to make an overpowering pitch. As a starter, it's about going out there and locating." Neftali Feliz is still a candidate for the rotation but is more likely to be in the bullpen. He is scheduled to pitch in a "B" game against the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Monday. Derek Holland and Brandon McCarthy also remain in the running. But Wilson gets another chance Monday to pad his advantage, as well as swing the bat.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.