Texas Rangers

Time off hasn’t hurt Choice’s bid to win Rangers LF job

Michael Choice has been held back by tightness in his left hamstring, but remains a viable candidate to win the LF job.
Michael Choice has been held back by tightness in his left hamstring, but remains a viable candidate to win the LF job. Star-Telegram

Arlington resident Michael Choice returned to left field for the Texas Rangers on Friday after nursing tightness in his left hamstring, the same muscle that gave way Sept. 14 and ended his 2014 season.

Choice said that the Rangers were erring on the side of caution after he felt the tightness during a game last week, no different than the way they would be concerned about a pitcher with shoulder tightness.

He expects to be healthy the rest of the spring as he competes to be the Rangers’ left fielder.

“It’s not really an injury,” Choice said.

The at-bats he has lost haven’t cost him in the left-field competition.

Manager Jeff Banister said that no player has emerged as a front-runner through the first 11 spring games.

“It’s still early yet,” Banister said. “He’s not behind. The first group that we’ve talked about all spring, I don’t think one of them has separated himself.”

Duo moving up

Injured left-handers Matt Harrison and Martin Perez continue to make positive steps in their rehab from season-ending injuries last season, and their next step is mound work.

Harrison, who had fusion surgery at the base of his spine last spring, finished his throwing program Friday by long-tossing at 200 feet.

He will then starting throwing off a half-mound Sunday, followed by catch Monday and a day off Tuesday.

He will repeat that cycle twice more before moving to a regular mound.

“I feel good,” Harrison said. “I’ve got to throw back-to-back days and see how that feels, but I’ve felt good so far.”

Perez, who had Tommy John surgery in May, has been throwing off a half-mound and expects to be at on a real mound next week.

He is throwing only fastballs as he works on finding the right arm angle.

Injury update

Right-hander Tanner Scheppers came through a bullpen session Thursday without any issues, but he will have to test his sprained right ankle in another bullpen session before he can make his spring debut.

“Everything was good,” Scheppers said. “Now it’s just a matter of finding out what I’m going to do next.”

Despite the missed time, Scheppers expects to be ready for the April 6 season opener.

Another righty, Anthony Ranaudo, won’t miss any playing time after leaving his start Thursday with discomfort in his elbow. He explained to the medical staff that it has become a normal spring sensation since an elbow scare in college.

Ranaudo checked out fine after his initial exam and didn’t feel the discomfort again when asked to throw shortly after he exited after 2 1/3 innings.

TV update

Former Houston Astros radio announcer Dave Raymond will call play-by-play for seven of the Rangers’ 12 spring telecasts, including the first two Sunday and Tuesday.

Regular play-by-play man Steve Busby is scheduled to work the full regular-season schedule as well as exhibition games next weekend in San Antonio against the Los Angeles Dodgers and April 3-4 against the New York Mets in Arlington.

Tom Grieve and Mark McLemore will evenly split the color commentary this spring.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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