Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who is nursing a sore left knee on the 15-day disabled list, is eligible to return to the roster Monday at San Diego.
Manager Jeff Banister said he can tell by Hamilton’s mood that the outfielder is feeling better. Hamilton took batting practice Friday for the first time since the injury worsened Aug. 16.
“He’s getting closer,” Banister said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s unrealistic [for him to be ready Monday].”
The Rangers will have extra space starting Tuesday, the day major league teams can call up their entire 40-man rosters. The additional reinforcements could allow Hamilton to return at a slower pace.
“We’ll see how he’s feeling,” Banister said. “His actions and body language are telling me that the more he’s doing the more engaged he is. The workload tells me he’s feeling a lot better.”
Banister said Hamilton is still unlikely to be 100 percent when he returns. That won’t happen until he has enough time to heal in the off-season.
“It’s going to be tolerance as we go,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those day-to-day things. There will be days when it’ll feel a heck of a lot better than others.
“But we’re willing to take whatever we can get at this point. This guy is a game-changer ... we’ve seen it.”
Faulkner added to pen
Left-hander Andrew Faulkner was called up from Triple A Round Rock before Friday’s game against the Orioles. It’s his first stint with the Rangers.
To make room, right-hander Nick Martinez was optioned back to Round Rock. Martinez had been recalled the day before to give the Rangers a long reliever, if necessary, in Thursday’s game. He wasn’t used and started for the Express on Friday night.
[Faulkner’s] a guy we’ve had on our radar all year. He’s made the progress that kind of forced us to get him in the mix.
Manager Jeff Banister
Faulkner was moved to the bullpen at Double A Frisco on July 10 and has excelled. The club looked at him as a reliever during spring training.
“We liked what we saw,” Banister said. “The action on the fastball, swing-and-miss breaking ball. He threw strikes and he’s been getting better ever since.
“He’s a guy we’ve had on our radar all year. He’s made the progress that kind of forced us to get him in the mix.”
Faulkner will be used as a setup man, along with fellow lefties Jake Diekman and Sam Freeman and right-hander Sam Dyson. Anthony Bass remains the long man, and Shawn Tolleson is the closer. Banister said he won’t hesitate to throw Faulkner into the fray.
“I don’t think this is the time where you ease guys into anything,” he said. “We’re as close to September as you can get and in the heat of things. That’s the type of guy he is and that’s his makeup, and we’ll treat him as such.”
Second baseman Rougned Odor threw before Friday’s game for the first time since injuring his right middle fingernail Tuesday against Toronto.
Odor wasn’t in the starting lineup for the third straight game Friday, but Banister said he will likely return Saturday.
“He’s much better today,” Banister said. “He could possibly be a full player for us Saturday.”
Odor was available as a pinch-hitter Friday.
“There’s that smile barometer. It’s amazing when the athlete starts feeling better how that mouth starts turning upward instead of down.” — Banister on Hamilton’s left knee feeling better
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760