SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kyle McClellan didn't take the step forward he had been hoping for Sunday.
McClellan had his bullpen session cut short because of soreness in his back that has kept him out of game action so far this spring.
"Frustrating," McClellan said. "It's going to take time. It's disappointing games have started and you're not in them. But we've got a lot of time. If it's still an issue in two or three weeks, I'll be concerned."
McClellan had shoulder surgery on July 10 and is still recovering from it. He said team doctors and trainers believe once he overcomes this back pain, which is near this is the final hurdle before he is good to go.
"We're on my body's time I guess," McClellan said. "I was game ready a week and a half ago, so that's encouraging. I know when it felt right, how good it felt.
"If I was right today, within a week I could be in games."
McClellan is considered one of the leading candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, along with Martin Perez, Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm and Randy Wells. If he doesn't win that spot, he could be a bullpen piece as a long reliever.
Similar to McClellan, manager Ron Washington isn't too concerned about McClellan at this point and said it's too early to say he's falling behind the competition.
"He'll have time," Washington said.
-- Drew Davison