Even if the mild inflammation in the right elbow of Yu Darvish clears out in the next two weeks, the chances are slim that he pitches again this season.
There likely won’t be enough time left this season to get him ready.
The Rangers have 32 games remaining after playing Seattle on Monday night at Safeco Field. It is unlikely that Darvish will begin throwing while the Rangers are on their 10-game, three-city road trip.
Once he is cleared to resume throwing, he would need to complete a throwing program to rebuild arm strength, and likely a simulated game or even an outing in the instructional league before returning to the Rangers’ rotation.
All of that work takes weeks to complete.
“Once a guy’s down for three weeks or four weeks, you’re not just going out there into a big league game,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “The calendar is working against us in that regard.”
But the Rangers haven’t ruled out a Darvish return, Daniels said. Darvish is rehabbing in Texas and could see Dr. Keith Meister before the road trip ends Sept. 3. The risk of further injury that could bleed into 2015 will be the determining factor.
“I want to finish strong. Nobody wants to lose, and we’re better when he’s out there,” Daniels said. “We’re trying to take a step back and have some perspective. Shame on me if this lingers into 2015. That’s the way I’m looking at it right now.”
Holland nearly ready
Left-hander Derek Holland will be activated from the disabled list and make his 2014 debut in early September after making his final rehab start Thursday.
He was scratched from a start Sunday because of back spasms, but he is throwing again and should be healthy enough to pitch this week for Triple A Round Rock. If all goes well, with his back and the surgically repair left knee that has cost him the first five months of the season, he will slide into the Rangers’ rotation.
“That’s my hope,” Daniels said.
Holland has been told that he can’t just go through the motions. The Rangers want to see him be on the attack and approach the start like he would a big league game rather than just a spring training tuneup.
He will be pitching on his 30th and maximum day of a rehab assignment.
Catcher Tomas Telis spent his first day in the major leagues as the Rangers’ starting catcher in the opener of a three-game series, the culmination of a long journey in the minor leagues.
Telis, 23, was in his seventh season in the minors before the Rangers purchased his contract Monday from Round Rock. Signed out of Venezuela in 2007, Telis was a second baseman before moving to catcher in 2009.
He caught three months before having Tommy John surgery in 2010.
“I felt like I was never going to be the same again,” Telis said.
But he has footwork comparable to that of Ivan Rodriguez, catching instructor Hector Ortiz said, and though Telis has a strong arm, it’s not nearly the cannon that Rodriguez had.
Telis was thought of as an offense-first catcher, and, indeed, the switch-hitter batted .345 for Round Rock. It lagged the past few years as he was working on the various facets of catching, but has caught back up.
“When you do it [focus on catching] for the first time, it gets overwhelming,” Ortiz said. “The bat was always there. We knew as soon as he got the catching part, the offense was going to show up again.”
September call-ups coming
Daniels said that three of the Rangers’ top prospects — third baseman Joey Gallo, catcher Jorge Alfaro and right-hander Luke Jackson — won’t be among the players added when rosters expand next month.
The only player Daniels confirmed is coming is right-hander Spencer Patton, acquired last month from Kansas City in the Jason Frasor trade. A few other pitchers, at least one infielder and an outfielder are likely to be added, Daniels said.