CHICAGO -- Four injured Rangers pitchers continued to work their way back during Texas' three-games series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, and Rangers manager Ron Washington is hopeful that at least two of them will return after the All-Star break.
Right-handers Neftali Feliz, out with a sprained right elbow, and Alexi Ogando (strained right groin) threw their second bullpen sessions on Thursday morning, tossing 35 and 40 pitches, respectively. Their sessions followed one by Koji Uehara (strained right lat muscle) on Wednesday, which was the righty's first time throwing off the mound since getting hurt on June 9.
Right-hander Colby Lewis (right forearm tendinitis) also threw from the front of the mound prior to Thursday's series finale against the White Sox.
Washington said the Rangers will discuss activating Ogando and Uehara after each throws three bullpen sessions. The manager added that Uehara's return is predicated on how the righty feels, while the club will consult its medical staff before making a decision on Ogando because of the nature of groin injuries.
"The groin can hide," Washington said. "You can throw and then you can fatigue, and there it is again."
Washington said Lewis likely won't make a rehab appearance before being activated, adding that the right-hander should be able to return when he his eligible to be reinstated from the disabled list. Lewis can come off the DL on Monday, and the Rangers will open the second half at Seattle four days later, on July 13.
The Rangers hope to begin the season's second half with four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation healthy, with right-hander Roy Oswalt in for Feliz, whom Washington said will rehab as if he's returning to the rotation.
"We'll make sure we get him stretched out, get him all the work he needs and then we'll make a determination when Neffy's ready to come back," Washington said.
Washington stands by usage of bullpen
CHICAGO -- An injury-depleted bullpen finally caught up to the Rangers on Wednesday night, but manager Ron Washington said he was still comfortable with the performance of his relief corps during a 5-4 loss to the White Sox in 10 innings.
Washington admitted he was a bit limited during the game, which ended when White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis plated Alejandro De Aza from second with a walk-off single off righty Mike Adams, who was throwing his second inning. Adams threw only 10 pitches in the ninth, giving Washington a chance to keep him in for the 10th.
"He threw the ball well, but just didn't execute some pitches in some situations that may have made a difference," Washington said of Adams. "It had nothing to do with giving us a second inning; it was just not executing in certain situations."
Washington also looked at the decision as an opportunity to extend the rest of his bullpen in case the game continued.
"When you start looking down there at what you've got left, they had three left and we had three left, so you're just trying to extend the inning," Washington said. "If Mike would have given us 18 or 19 pitches in that ninth inning, we would have had to go to someone else right away. But because he gave us  pitches, we felt like maybe if we could get another one out of him, that could extend the other guys down there."
If Youkilis hadn't ended the game, Washington said he would have intentionally walked designated hitter Adam Dunn to set up a double-play situation with White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko at the plate.
Wash trusts rookie Ross against tough righties
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Robbie Ross is doing exactly what the Rangers' player development staff told manager Ron Washington he could.
"They said he could handle it," Washington said. "He's handled it."
Has he ever. Ross pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the White Sox in 10 innings, extending his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 21, which spans 14 appearances and is the longest by a Rangers pitcher this season. Ross, 23, also lowered his season ERA to 0.99.
Washington also showed confidence in the rookie during the seventh inning, leaving him in to face slugger Adam Dunn. Ross struck out Dunn looking and also retired the side in order in the eighth, getting right-handed hitters Paul Konerko and Alex Rios. Washington said Ross isn't just a lefty specialist, and he's comfortable having the southpaw face hitters from either side of the plate.
"From what I've seen since Spring Training, I've never seen him have a problem with right-handers," Washington said. "He can get lefties out, but he's not one of those who can come in and just mess a lefty up. He's not a lefty matchup [pitcher], so when he has to face right-handers, it doesn't bother me at all."