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Fifth spot remains unsettled

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HOUSTON -- The Rangers are undecided who will start Thursday against the Mariners in Arlington.

That spot in the rotation belongs to Miles Mikolas, but he is sidelined with fatigue in his right shoulder. Scott Baker remains a candidate after winning his last two starts. The Rangers also have Robbie Ross, who pitched five no-hit innings against the Astros in a spot start on Saturday.

"We'll see how Mikolas feels," manager Ron Washington said. "If he feels he needs to skip another start, we can always fill in with Baker. Robbie is in the mix too. We'll see where it goes. Robbie has thrown 112 pitches in three days. He needs time down."

The bigger question is if the Rangers look at Ross as a future starter or return him back to the bullpen where he was effective the past two years. Ross wants to start but left-handed relief remains a valuable commodity, especially if the Rangers don't re-sign Neal Cotts. Right now Cotts and Alex Claudio are the two left-handed relievers in the Rangers bullpen although they still have Aaron Poreda, Michael Kirkman, Joseph Ortiz and Ryan Feierabend in the organization.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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