Notes: Wilkerson's hamstring better
Outfielder could head out for rehab assignment Tuesday
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Brad Wilkerson, on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring muscle, passed a strenuous physical test before Saturday's game and is hoping to start a medical rehabilitation assignment as early as Tuesday.Wilkerson was on the field early Saturday afternoon with strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez, running the bases and chasing after fly balls. "I felt pretty good," Wilkerson said. "There was just a little tightness. We're shooting for Tuesday, but tomorrow or Monday will tell more, especially how the muscle recovers from this." This was Wilkerson's most exhaustive workout since he injured the muscle running the bases in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on March 15 in Orlando. "When you get on a field and start going after fly balls -- accelerating and decelerating -- that's when you really test it," Wilkerson said. "That's what we did today. We wanted to get it stretched out and see how I reacted. But there was just a little tightness, no pain." Wilkerson was hitting .250 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 28 games and 88 at-bats before going on the disabled list. Byrd for Mahar: The Rangers made the move they wanted to make last week, calling up outfielder Marlon Byrd from Triple-A Oklahoma and sending down Kevin Mahar. The Rangers signed Byrd in the offseason to be their fourth outfielder, but he was beaten out for that job in Spring Training by Jerry Hairston. After clearing outright waivers, he went to Oklahoma and played extremely well, hitting .358 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 44 games. He had a .415 on-base percentage and a .568 slugging percentage. "I was the odd man out, that's how baseball works," Byrd said. "If another team didn't pick me up, I told these guys that I'd go down and play my tail off and come back and help them. I did the first half, now I have to do the second half." The Rangers were going to bring Byrd up when Wilkerson got hurt, but Byrd suffered a cramp in his hamstring on the same night and Mahar was called up. Byrd went into the lineup immediately Saturday. "Obviously, he was tearing it up in Triple A," manager Ron Washington said. "He's a Major League ballplayer. We're happy to have his experience." The Rangers could use some more offensive help for their outfield. Rangers outfielders were hitting a combined .228 going into Saturday's game, the lowest in the American League. Their .688 OPS was the third lowest and they had the fourth fewest RBIs among any outfield unit. To make room for Byrd on the 40-man roster, the Rangers have designated Triple-A catcher Miguel Ojeda for assignment.
McCarthy watch: The Rangers are still planning on Brandon McCarthy pitching Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics, but Washington said a bullpen throwing session Monday will give them a better idea if he can make that start or needs to be scratched because of the blister on his right middle finger."If he can't throw his bullpen, we'll know we have to do something," Washington said. John Koronka would be a possibility if McCarthy can't go. He pitched on Friday for Triple-A Oklahoma and allowed three runs in seven innings. Koronka gave up eight hits and four walks while striking out five. McCarthy's blister forced him out of Friday's game after just two innings. "I'm anxious to get back out there," McCarthy said. "But I can't rush it. If I'm not ready, I'm not ready. But I think if I take care of it and don't aggravate it, I should be ready to go." He said it: "Our offense is going to be fine. We need to pitch and play better defense. Our pitching will determine what our offense can do. We're not going to beat people banging on them. We need to pick it up on pitching and defense." -- Washington
Friday's Minor stars: Top performances from Friday's Minor League games:Gold: Right-hander Kendy Batista threw six shutout innings in Class A Bakersfield. He allowed just three hits, striking out five as the Blaze beat the Quakes, 9-3. Silver: Designated hitter Kevin West went 3-for-5 with four RBIs in Triple-A Oklahoma's 13-3 win over Iowa. He hit a home run for the second consecutive day. Bronze: Outfielder Chad Tracy was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Class A Clinton. He hit doubles No. 16 and 17 of the season in helping the LumberKings defeat Burlington, 4-2. Briefly: Kevin Millwood is scheduled to throw 70 pitches for Double-A Frisco in a medical rehabilitation start Sunday. He'll fly with the Rangers to Oakland after the game. ... Pitcher Craig Crow has been put on the disabled list for Class A Bakersfield and Michael Schlact has been activated. ... Because Friday's game was delayed at the start for 1 hour, 57 minutes by a rainstorm, the Rangers are compensating fans for the inconvenience by allowing them to use their ticket stub for an upper level ticket for a future game. Some blackout games apply. Up next: Right-hander Kameron Loe pitches for the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Julian Tavarez pitches for the Red Sox.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.