Right-hander Yu Darvish played catch late Thursday morning without any tightness in his shoulder, and his next step is to throw his normal between-starts bullpen session Friday before the Texas Rangers named him their starting pitcher Monday.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre also gave the Rangers good injury news with his left hamstring.
Darvish left his start Wednesday after five innings and 76 pitches after feeling discomfort in the fourth inning. He shook his arm after throwing a 63-mph curveball to strike out George Springer in the fifth and was visited at the mound after walking the next Houston Astros batter, Jose Altuve.
Darvish remained in the game for the final out of the fifth, but was replaced by Shawn Tolleson to start the sixth. Afterward, Darvish said that he was planning to make his next start, Monday at Oakland.
“When these guys are confident and they start saying things like that, I’m sure they feel pretty good,” manager Jeff Banister said.
Beltre, who left in the eighth inning Wednesday with tightness in his left hamstring, underwent an MRI on Thursday morning showed a mild strain, and the Rangers will monitor Beltre day to day during the upcoming road trip but do not plan to put him on the disabled list.
Beltre was running to second on a Prince Fielder single when his leg appeared to buckle just before he reached the bag. Time was called for a pitching change, and Beltre walked directly to the Rangers’ dugout.
Jurickson Profar started at third base on what originally scheduled to be an off day for Beltre.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos was activated from the 60-day disabled list before finale against the Astros, but a catcher wasn’t removed from the 25-man or 40-man rosters to clear room for him.
Instead, right-hander Luke Jackson was optioned to Triple A Round Rock to get Chirinos on the active roster, and right-hander Phil Klein, a member of the Opening Day roster, was designated for assignment to create the 40-man opening.
With Beltre sidelined Thursday, the Rangers needed Chirinos on what would have been a two-man bench. What happens with him and at catcher, though, is uncertain.
Chirinos gives the Rangers three catchers, along with Bobby Wilson and Bryan Holaday. Neither player has minor-league options remaining, and each would likely be claimed if the Rangers attempted to pass them through waivers to get them to Triple A.
They might not be going anywhere.
“Right now, I don’t know that anybody is,” Banister said.
The Rangers don’t want to lose either player, and certainly not without getting something in return. By keeping three catchers a few days, the Rangers could buy themselves time to attempt to trade one of them.
Outfielder Drew Stubbs received a cortisone injection Wednesday in his sprained left little toe in an attempt to reduce inflammation and allow him to begin a rehab assignment.
In addition to the discomfort, Stubbs said that the toe isn’t as stable as it needs to be because of the ligaments still haven’t healed.
Stubbs said that he is doing all baseball activities without issue, but he can’t turn left while running. He’s on the disabled list for only the second time in his career, and it’s frustrating.
“It definitely is,” Stubbs said. “To sit around and not participate is pretty frustrating and tough. At this point, it’s all based on how it feels.”
Stubbs hit the 15-day disabled list May 23, the same day as Shin-Soo Choo with a strained left hamstring. Choo is scheduled to play nine innings in the field Friday and Saturday and possibly be activated Monday.