Cole Hamels is likely to return to the Texas Rangers’ rotation during their next road trip, and could do so as soon as the Cleveland series June 26-29.
Manager Jeff Banister said that he is open to Hamels’ second rehab start Wednesday being his last. If so, the left-hander could pitch in the opener of the four-game series against the defending American League champs.
If the Rangers determine Hamels needs a third rehab start, he could return June 30-July 2 at Chicago.
“We’ll see how far he can get stretched out and see how he feels,” Banister said. “He might be able to get to that bank of pitches that gets him to the point where he’s able to go.”
Hamels has had no issues with his strained right oblique muscle since he started throwing last month at Boston. He tossed three scoreless innings Friday for Double A Frisco, allowing only one hit, on 35 pitches. He threw 20 more pitches in the bullpen.
Hamels said that his goal for Wednesday, an 11 a.m. start at Frisco, would be to log five innings and reach 70-75 pitches. That would allow him to reached 90 pitches in his next start, and that could be good enough to rejoin the Rangers.
He’s eager to get going.
“If it was up to me, I’d be pitching tomorrow,” said Hamels, who was injured May 2.