Andrew Cashner’s first start for the Rangers is getting closer but it could be a tad later than anticipated.
The right-hander, who was slowed by upper right biceps soreness early in spring camp, is scheduled make his first rehab start Monday for Double A Frisco.
Cashner threw 72 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Pitching coach Doug Brocail said it took Cashner a couple innings to get warm but blamed that on him not throwing a normal 30-pitch bullpen session in the actual bullpen. Instead, he threw 12 warmup pitches on the mound before facing several minor leaguers from Frisco, Drew Robinson and Adrian Beltre.
“He started getting extension and good separation and finish on the ball,” Brocail said. “He was cutting the slider off early and once he got loose it was good.”
Cashner feels he’ll be ready after one rehab start but understands the desire to be cautious.
“Not hoping, I’ll be here,” he said, before acknowledging he’ll do whatever the club asks. “That’s just the way it goes. I understand the process. It’s still early and if they want an extra start then that’s what they want.”
If he makes two rehab starts Cashner would be slated to return April 20 against the Royals in Arlington.
“I’m still trying to get a feel for everything, still working on stuff so it’s not frustrating; it’s just going through the steps of getting to that pitch count that you have to get to to make starts,” he said.
Brocail said that even if Cashner is physically ready to return to the majors, it’s best to take it slow. Cashner would go five innings and 75 or 80 pitches on Monday and then perhaps six and 90-100 on April 15. The Rangers are in a four-man rotation and expect Cashner to be the fifth starter when he returns.
“I would like to see at least two more outings in game situations,” Brocail said. “If we rush it and something happens, we look like idiots. We want him back but when we get him back we want him back for a whole year.”
Right-hander Tyson Ross threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday. Brocail said he looked strong and is “getting stronger every time he goes out.”
Ross is returning from October surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome issues. Ross will pitch Friday in Arizona in an extended spring game, either two innings and 30 pitches or three and 45, depending on his arm feels.
Brocail said there’s a good chance that Ross will stay on the disabled list for the full 30 days from the start of his rehab assignment, which will be Friday. That means he could join the rotation around May 7.