The scene Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park had to fill the Rangers with some sense of hope as three injured pitchers took to the field for some on-field activities.
Right-hander Colby Lewis threw 46 pitches during a session of live-batting practice that served as the final step before he begins a rehab assignment Wednesday at Double A Frisco.
As he worked, left-hander Matt Harrison played long-toss at up to 200 feet, and righty Yu Darvish played catch.
Darvish will return before the others, likely July 23 after resting a fatigued trapezius muscle, and Alexi Ogando’s return is coming soon. But progress is being made by Lewis and Harrison as the Rangers try to get their pitch staff back to full strength.
Lewis, who had a torn flexor tendon fixed almost a year ago and has suffered of late from triceps tendinits, seemed especially upbeat after his second live BP of the road trip.
The big thing for Lewis, he said, is that his fastball had more carry, a sign that his other pitches will have more effectiveness as he continues to build arm strength.
"It was a lot better today, that's for sure," Lewis said. "I just need to go out and continue to feel right. I don't think I’ll be of much help if I'm not right."
Ogando (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw six innings or 95 pitches Thursday for Triple A Round Rock, which could make him available for the Rangers’ fifth game after the All-Star break, July 22.
Harrison (back surgery) is hoping to throw a bullpen session Friday before the Rangers kick off the second half of the season against Baltimore.
Justin Grimm, who left his start Friday after 3 1/3 innings, is said to be day to day with forearm stiffness. His arm was still stiff a day later, but no exams had been scheduled.
"I'm just going to keep rehabbing and go from there," said Grimm, who could try to play catch today. "If your elbow's going to be sore, it's sore in the right place."
The relief corps got good news, too, as right-hander Neftali Feliz (Tommy John surgery) has been cleared to throw live batting practice Monday in Arizona. He could return in mid-August, as well.
-- Jeff Wilson