Free-agent right-hander Tyson Ross visited Wednesday with the Texas Rangers, who are in need of a starting pitcher to round out their 2017 rotation.
But with Ross there is a catch: He might not be ready for Opening Day.
A baseball source said that the Rangers consider Ross to be the best pitcher remaining on the market but don’t expect Ross to be available to start the season. He made only one start in 2016 because of a shoulder injury that led to thoracic outlet syndrome Oct. 13.
The same source said that a deal with the Rangers is not imminent. Ross would join a rotation that already includes Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Andrew Cashner.
Ross reportedly is trying to decide between six teams, and the Rangers could see themselves outbid for his services. They are unlikely to offer Ross anything more than a one-year deal.
Ross’ lone start in 2016 came on Opening Day for the San Diego Padres, who decided last month not to tender him a 2017 contract. The Rangers, though, have liked Ross for a long time and with good reason: He posted a 3.03 ERA in 2014 and 2015 with 407 strikeouts and only 22 home runs allowed.
The Rangers are well-versed in thoracic outlet syndrome, a procedure that requires the removal of an upper rib to alleviate a nerve issue that causes the loss of sensation in the pitching hand.
The typical recovery time is four to six months, which would put Ross on schedule to be ready early in the season, possibly later in April after the April 3 opener against the Cleveland Indians.
Among former Rangers players who had the surgery are Matt Harrison, Kenny Rogers, John Rheinecker, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Hank Blalock.
The 6-foot-6, 29-year-old Ross started his career with four seasons in Oakland before being traded to San Diego in late 2012. He made $9.6 million last season despite being limited to just 5.1 innings because of shoulder discomfort.