Texas Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo begins rehab Sunday, could return to Rangers on Friday

Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo begins a medical rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock in Albuquerque Sunday. He could rejoin the Rangers Friday in Houston.
Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo begins a medical rehab assignment with Triple A Round Rock in Albuquerque Sunday. He could rejoin the Rangers Friday in Houston. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo begins a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Triple A Round Rock in Albuquerque.

Choo has been on the disabled list since April 10 with a strained right calf. Choo played four days of extended spring games in Surprise, Ariz., this week before joining Round Rock. Choo is expected to play a full nine innings in consecutive games before being ready to rejoin the Rangers in Houston on Friday.

“We have to get him all the way up to nine, back to back,” manager Jeff Banister said. “It goes back to how he wakes up the next morning.”

Banister declined to say how Choo’s return will alter the lineup, but it’s expected that Nomar Mazara will move to left field from right to allow Choo to play where he’s most comfortable. Ian Desmond will remain the center fielder with Delino DeShields in the minors.

Ryan Rua has played well with more playing time in left field lately. He was batting .318 with two home runs and five RBI in his past seven games entering Saturday.

“It’s been on my brain since he left,” Banister said of his options when Choo returns. “The great part of this is there are lot of guys making this a tough decision.”

Ramos ready

Left-hander Cesar Ramos makes his second start for the Rangers and first since April 25 in the series finale Sunday against the Blue Jays.

Ramos pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Jays on May 5 in Toronto. Making a spot start is nothing new for Ramos, who started eight games over four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A.J. Griffin isn't too concerned about the shoulder stiffness that forced out of Saturday's game in the third inning, but he and Rangers manager Jeff Banister don't know how long he'll be out (video by Jeff Wilson).

“I guess I just kind of wing it day by day,” he said of his preparation. “Luckily, I’ve got some experience doing that in Tampa. You just kind of do what you can between [appearances] to stay sharp because you never know when it’s going to be that game when you go out for one hitter or go out for as long as you can.”

Against the Jays’ powerful lineup, Ramos said, it’s important to get ahead in the count.

“Keep it out of their barrel,” he said. “If I’m in favor in the count I might be able to get away with one more, but if I’m behind I’ve got to be a little bit more pinpoint.”

Griffin better

Right-hander A.J. Griffin is continuing to get treatment on his tight right shoulder, but it’s feeling much better. Griffin was placed on the 15-day DL May 8.

Rangers left-hander Cesar Ramos has experience starting and coming out of the bullpen so Sunday's spot start is not an issue (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

“It feels more free and feeling the way it should feel,” Griffin said. “I knew I didn’t hurt it that bad, I just couldn’t pitch good. If I kept pitching I might’ve hurt myself. It just got tight and when one thing gets tight it makes everything else get jacked up.”

As for a time frame for his return?

“When it feels good,” he said. “So far, so good.”

Lohse official

Right-hander Kyle Lohse passed his physical and was assigned to Round Rock after his minor league deal with the Rangers was official.

He’ll report Sunday in Albuquerque and will be activated when he makes his first start in a few days.

McKenry opts out

Triple A Round Rock catcher Michael McKenry took his opt out Saturday, a clause in his contract that gave him the chance to elect free agency by May 15 if he wasn’t on the Rangers’ major league roster.

Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson said his grand slam six days ago didn't enter his mind during an 11-pitch at-bat that he capped with another grand slam in the second inning Saturday night (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Rangers right handed Colby Lewis tossed his seventh quality start of the season Saturday night and gave his team a chance (video by Jeff Wilson).

Outfielder Drew Stubbs connected for a two-out solo homer in the 10th inning Saturday night to lift the Rangers, the team he was hoping to open the season with in 2016 (video by Jeff Wilson).

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST