ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is expected to be back in the outfield for Saturday's game with the Royals.Hamilton has been used at designated hitter for four games since coming off the disabled list on Monday. He wanted to get some extra work on defense before returning to the outfield and pronounced himself ready after taking fly balls in left before Friday's game with Kansas City. "I have been ready for four weeks," Hamilton said. "It feels normal." Manager Ron Washington said Hamilton will be in left field if he's ready to go. Hamilton started seven games in left and three in center before suffering a fractured bone below his right shoulder sliding head-first into home plate in a game against the Tigers on April 12 in Detroit.
Webb slated for rehab assignment at Frisco
ARLINGTON -- Brandon Webb rejoined the Rangers on Friday and threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Mike Maddux.His next step will be pitching for Double-A Frisco on Monday in his first medical rehabilitation assignment. It will be the first time he has pitched in a real game since being the D-backs starter on Opening Day in 2009. Webb has spent the last two months pitching in extended spring training in Arizona. "I'm good," Webb said. "I need to get out of Arizona. I got my pitch count up, that was the main goal." Webb, who has been sidelined for over two years because of a shoulder injury, made five starts in extended spring training and worked his way up to 80 pitches over six innings. Webb will likely start out at 3-4 innings on Monday. His command is improving after much side work with Arizona pitching coordinator Keith Comstock and his mechanics are sound again. He is getting much better at repeating his delivery, rather than getting out of whack pitch-to-pitch. His curve and changeup are coming around and he has good movement on his sinker, which is his most important pitch. His velocity is between 84-86 miles per hour. "I was never a hard thrower and I'm about four miles per hour over where I used to be," Webb said. "I'm hoping when I get under the lights and in front of fans, that will come up. It's not going to come overnight, but time on the mound will take care of that. "My curve ball is definitely getting better. It was roly-poly, but is has gotten better and the changeup is there. With my off-speed stuff, I can compete."
Extra time off proves beneficial for Oliver
ARLINGTON -- Darren Oliver acknowledged the benefits of getting some time off and it showed up on Wednesday in a 2-1 victory over the White Sox at the Ballpark in Arlington. Oliver entered the game in the eighth inning with one out, a one-run lead and runners at the corners.He struck out pinch-hitter Adam Dunn and retired Juan Pierre on a grounder to first to end the threat. "The other day he came in and he put the pitches where he wanted to, and that's what you gotta do with Ollie," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You can put him in a tough situation and he can get us out of it. He's not going to let the situation dictate his nerves. When he's fresh, he can execute." Oliver was pitching for the first time in six games. Prior to that, he had pitched 19 times in the Rangers first 44 games. He had also allowed seven runs over eight innings in nine games before Wednesday's outing. The time off helped, Oliver said. "It helped a lot," Oliver said of the layoff. "I was on pace for 80 games and every one was 1-1, 2-2 or 2-1. Couldn't it have been at least 4-1? That's why they pay me the big bucks, but it was nice to get a break."
Feldman having issues with sore knee
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman has been recalled from his medical rehabilitation assignment because of more soreness in his right knee.Feldman made three starts in the Minor Leagues, but was still having trouble with the knee. Feldman said the knee was getting fatigued as his outing progressed. Feldman, who threw in the bullpen on Friday at the Ballpark, will remain in Arlington and work on leg-strengthening exercises before being sent back to the Minor Leagues to pitch again. Feldman's last start was on Tuesday for Triple-A Round Rock. He went 5 2/3 innings against Reno. Feldman, who was a 17-game winner and the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year in 2009, underwent microfracture knee surgery on Nov. 3, 2010 and is still trying to come back from that injury.
Chavez ready to go, Borbon runs bases
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder Julio Borbon, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, ran the bases on Friday without any problems. He is hoping to do that again on Saturday and then convince the Rangers he is ready to go out on a medical rehabilitation assignment."It went well," Borbon said. "There was no discomfort. It was more tired than anything. " Outfielder Endy Chavez said he is close to 100 percent and over the tightness in his right hamstring. It has been a week since Chavez has appeared in a game and he was not in the starting lineup on Friday night against the Royals. But Chavez said he is ready if needed. "I'm not in there [Friday], but I feel like I'm 100 percent," Chavez said.
T-shirt pays homage to Young's approach
ARLINGTON -- Mike Napoli passed out a T-shirt to his offensive teammates before Friday's game.On the front it had the message: "Walk the Dog." On the back, it said, "Hit like Mike." The T-shirt was a tribute to Rangers infielder Michael Young, who went into Friday's game ranked third in the American League with a .340 batting average. He was second with 64 hits. "Walk the dog ... it's a term I've been using since the Minor Leagues," Young said. "It's like ... tough pitch on the outside corner ... stay with it. Anytime in batting practice someone gets a tough pitch and they stick with it, I say, 'Walk the dog.' Napoli just took it and ran with it." Julio Borbon said "Walk the Dog" means do anything to get a hit. "Just like Mike, he always finds a way to get a hit," Borbon said. "He's gotten so many hits ... you just find a way to get your knocks, whether it's a line drive or a blooper."
Tommy Hunter, on the disabled list with a strained right groin muscle, threw 52 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday. Hunter said he didn't hold back and let it go without problem. He'll throw another session on Sunday and the next step would be live batting practice. Wednesday's 2-1 win was only the second Rangers victory ever at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington where they won with three hits or less, the first being manager Ron Washington's first career win. An RBI single by Michael Young in the eighth inning of May 14th's game against the Angels was changed to an error on Erick Aybar. Young also lost an RBI in the the MLB review process. Rule 5 pitcher Mason Tobin, who has been sidelined since the beginning of April with a sore right elbow, will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Tobin has undergone three elbow operations in the past two years and another surgery is a possibility.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.