The disabled list has drawn a crowd of quality Texas Rangers players, but unlike last season, it appears as if most of those ailing will be back at full strength sooner than later.
But another player hit the DL on Thursday, as first baseman Kyle Blanks was sidelined by Achilles tendinitis. He went through batting practice as a last-ditch test to avoid his second DL stint in the past month, but he wasn’t healthy enough.
The Rangers used his roster spot to recall right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, who started against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ranaudo will likely be sent back to triple A Round Rock on Friday, and outfielder Ryan Rua could take his roster spot.
Rua would be the first of the many players on the DL to return, as a right-handed hitter against three left-handed Chicago White Sox starting pitchers. His right foot and ankle are holding up on his rehab assignment with Round Rock, and his bat has started to come around.
The numbers aren’t there, but the things that will lead to him being a productive player are.
“He really swung the bat very well last night, with the hands back in play on the swing,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s close. If he’s ready, he might be an option for us. I want the kid to be right. I don’t want him to have a setback or us push him too quick.”
Josh Hamilton could begin a rehab assignment next week as he continues to recover ahead of schedule from a strained left hamstring.
The left fielder, injured May 31 while delivering a walk-off double, worked out the past two days with Round Rock and will continue his rehab this weekend in the Metroplex.
He will be evaluated Sunday after a workout with Double A Frisco and could begin a short rehab assignment soon thereafter.
If he were to start rehabbing Monday at Frisco, he could play behind Martin Perez. The left-hander, who is dealing with a slight groin strain while coming back from Tommy John surgery, will throw a bullpen session Friday and will be cleared to rehab Monday if all goes well.
Fellow lefty Matt Harrison will make his fourth rehab start Friday for Round Rock as he continues his comeback from major back surgery. He might need two more starts before he is activated.
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (groin) threw a simulated game Tuesday in Arizona without any issues, and the next step is to get him in a game.
But not all news is good news on the injury front, starting with third baseman Adrian Beltre. He still can’t swing a bat with his sprained left thumb, even though the stitches have been removed.
Beltre is throwing daily and has started catching balls with his glove hand, but he doesn’t know when he will return.
“It’s not as close as I want it,” Beltre said. “I’m not happy, but what can I do, get a disposable thumb?”
The latest MRI on the shoulder of lefty Derek Holland again showed improvement, and he will begin a two-week throwing program. But the Rangers won’t allow him to get on a mound until after another MRI in two weeks.
The best-case timeline for Holland to return is early August.
Right-hander Nick Martinez met a fellow Fordham University product Thursday at Dodger Stadium, and was floored to meet him.
It was Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
Martinez and Scully spent roughly 20 minutes talking before Rangers batting practice, and, as expected, Scully was thoroughly prepared. Martinez said they talked about Fordham and baseball, and it was something he won’t soon forget.
“It was awesome,” Martinez said. “What a great person. It was just neat meeting him.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760