Harrison on track to possibly start Opening Day
Scratched Saturday, lefty feels good after throwing 37 pitches in 'B' game
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Matt Harrison is back on track. The Rangers have even likely put him on track to be their Opening Day starter even though they have not made an official announcement.
Harrison, who was scratched from Saturday's start with inflammation in a toe on his left foot, returned to the mound on Tuesday, throwing 37 pitches in a "B" game against the Royals. He allowed two runs on four hits, but there were a couple of broken-bat singles and a double to center on a line drive that Julio Borbon had trouble tracking. Harrison walked one and struck out two.
"Toe is good; no pain, no issues," Harrison said. "I just focused on making my pitches. I didn't feel anything at all. Hopefully this is over with."
Harrison said the outing was the best he's felt all spring.
"I felt my legs were under me and I was getting better action on all my pitches," Harrison said.
Harrison said his next start will likely be on Saturday against the Dodgers in Surprise or in another Minor League game. If so, that will be the first of three starters he has left in Spring Training. If Harrison pitches every fifth day, then he would pitch March 21 against the Angels (or in a Minor League game) and March 26 against the White Sox.
That would put him in line to pitch Opening Day against the Astros on March 31 in Houston.
"They haven't said anything about that yet," Harrison said.
Gentry scratched from lineup with stomach bug
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Craig Gentry, who has been impressing Rangers officials with his play this spring, was scratched from Tuesday's lineup because of a stomach bug. Texas is off on Wednesday and Gentry is expected back on Thursday against Oakland.
This is the second time Gentry has had to sit out because of a minor physical issue. But it hasn't taken away from what has been a strong spring. He is hitting .333 with two home runs, but also entered Tuesday with five stolen bases, tied for second in the Cactus League. He was also second with 10 runs scored.
Gentry came into camp as one of several candidates to be the starting center fielder. His primary competitors are Leonys Martin and Julio Borbon, but the Rangers are also looking at Engel Beltre and James Adduci. The competition has been keen. Those five entered Tuesday hitting a combined .325 (37-114) with three home runs and 22 RBIs.
"There are times when you come into camp with a competition with four or five guys and none of the four or five have impressed," general manager Jon Daniels said. "This is just the opposite. There's nobody that hasn't played well. Leonys has stepped up. Gentry has been outstanding -- not only the performance but the mindset. Julio Borbon has played really well. Engel Beltre and Jim Adduci have played well. It's not a situation where anyone is playing themselves out of it."
Andrus returns to camp after early Classic exit
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The peace and tranquility of the Rangers workouts came to an end on Tuesday. Elvis Andrus was back in camp and his voice was once again joyfully chirping all over the back fields.
"We didn't miss that part," third baseman Adrian Beltre said.
Beltre was eager to let Andrus have it after his early return from the World Baseball Classic. Andrus was boasting great things about Team Venezuela before he left, but the team was eliminated quickly by losing to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Those two countries advanced while Venezuela was done after a meaningless victory over Spain.
"As soon as we lost the second game, Beltre texted me and said we have a 9:30 stretch on Monday," Andrus said. "But it was still a great experience. For me it was a lot of fun. The whole atmosphere, hearing your country's national anthem.
"Everybody knew the first game [vs. Dominican Republic] was going to be the toughest one. They have a pretty good team. Puerto Rico has a pretty good team, too, but I thought we had a better chance in the second game. But we never had a chance to relax. It was pressure from the beginning."
Miller among four sent to Minor League camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Justin Miller was one of four players sent to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. The Rangers also sent back pitchers Neil Ramirez and Jacob Brigham and outfielder Joey Butler.
Miller was the Rangers' Minor League Reliever of the Year in 2011 when he went 9-1 with a 1.81 ERA in 48 games at Double-A Frisco. But he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on April 18. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and is probably one to two months away from being able to pitch in a Minor League game.
Ramirez, ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Rangers' farm system by MLB.com, was sent down after allowing a run in one inning during the Tuesday morning "B" game. He had also allowed five runs in three innings during Cactus League games. Brigman pitched in four games and allowed two runs in three innings. He allowed just one hit, walked three and struck out three. Butler was 4-for-18 at the plate in his first big league camp.
• Derek Lowe threw in the bullpen on Tuesday and is scheduled to start on Friday against the Giants in Scottsdale.
• The Rangers lost to the Royals, 3-1, in a 4 1/2-inning "B" game on Tuesday morning. Julio Borbon had the only hit with a home run. Joe Ortiz pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, retiring four batters on eight pitches.
• Reliever Wilmer Font pitched in the "B" game. It's the first game he has pitched in this spring while dealing with inflammation. He allowed a hit and a walk in one inning.
• Jeff Baker has a seven-game hitting streak.
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.