3/5/2014 7:23 P.M. ET
Hanson yields just two runs in Cactus League debut
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tommy Hanson took his first step Wednesday auditioning for a role in the Rangers' rotation, turning in a steady performance as he allowed two runs on five hits over three innings in his club debut against the Rockies.
"He did a good job," manager Ron Washington said. "He's been a successful pitcher, and hopefully he'll stay healthy and he'll continue to do the things he did today. If he pitches like that for six or seven innings, he's going to keep us in ballgames."
Hanson, signed by the club last month to compete for a rotation spot, ended his afternoon much smoother than he began it. The Rockies pushed across both runs off him in the first inning, the first coming on a Charlie Culberson homer and the second on a Wilin Rosario double.
"When my fastball was down, I thought it was good and got good results," Hanson said. "When it was up, I didn't. [I've] got to stay away from those thigh-high fastballs."
After a clean second inning, Hanson delivered his best work in the third, retiring Corey Dickerson, Rosario and Nolan Arenado in order using just eight pitches.
"I think as I went along it got easier, especially in that last inning," Hanson said. "Hopefully I can carry that over to the next one and build on it."
Hanson's outing Wednesday came just hours after the Rangers announced the signing of Joe Saunders to a Major League contract. But even with more competition around him, the right-hander isn't concerning himself with what he can't control.
"I just have to go out and worry about myself," Hanson said. "Whatever is going to be best for this team is going to happen, so hopefully I can go out and do my part and throw well. This is where I want to be and this is the team I want to play for. Hopefully it all works out and comes together at the end of the spring."
Harrison feels good after first bullpen session
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison threw 38 pitches in his first bullpen session on Wednesday since being shut down at the beginning of camp with back and neck stiffness.
"I felt good," Harrison said. "A little erratic the first 10 pitches or so, but I got my timing back and got loosened up."
Barring any setbacks with how his body responds to the workout, Harrison is on track to throw live batting practice Friday, and if that goes well, he'll appear in a "B" game.
Harrison, who missed almost all of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back, initially reported to camp this spring feeling 100 percent, but shortly after, he started feeling discomfort.
"At this point after throwing off the mound, I feel as good today as I did when I came here," Harrison said.
Although the 28-year-old is making steady progress, the Rangers don't expect Harrison to be ready for Opening Day. Mid-April appears like a more realistic goal.
"There's not a set date, but at the same time, I want to be back as soon as possible," Harrison said. "I don't want to drag this thing out. There's no point in that. I want to go as soon as I'm ready to start pitching in games. If that means coming back in the middle of April, that's what it means."
Arm feeling OK, Andrus returns to lineup
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers didn't plan on Elvis Andrus returning to action until Thursday or Friday, but after the shortstop approached manager Ron Washington and told him that he was ready to go, the club scrapped that plan and penciled him into the lineup Wednesday against the Rockies.
Andrus missed the previous four games with flexor tendinitis in his right arm.
"He's been doing everything he needs to do and his arm feels good, so there are no limitations," Washington said.
Andrus struck out in his first at-bat of the afternoon and then doubled to center in the third. The Rangers' starters were removed before he could come up to bat a third time.
"It felt good, man," Andrus said. "I was really looking forward to it. I don't like to be on the bench or out of the game. It feels good to be back."
Washington was impressed with Andrus' throws Wednesday.
"It was nice and easy, but he was under control and he got it there, so at least he's not throwing it like he was when we had to shut him down," Washington said. "Now he can just build his strength up."
In the field, Andrus made two putouts and didn't hold back anything when throwing.
"I let it go. Yesterday, I think I was a little careful, but today I felt good with throwing to the bases and stuff," Andrus said. "I didn't feel anything. I feel a lot stronger."
Mikolas' elbow better, hopes to make debut soon
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Miles Mikolas wants to make a strong impression on his new team this spring, but his elbow hasn't been cooperative thus far. Acquired from the Pirates in December, the right-hander has been dealing with soreness in his elbow, and although he has begun a throwing program to return to action, his patience is running thin.
"I'm a little disappointed in my body," Mikolas said. "I thought I had a good offseason working out and running, and then we get here and it turns around on me a little bit. It feels good now and I think hopefully I can get into some of these games before they start making the decisions. I want to show them that I'm here to play."
Mikolas played catch Wednesday from 120 feet and said he plans on throwing a bullpen session in the next couple of days. Once that happens, he won't be too far from appearing in Cactus League games, where he'll try to turn some heads.
"You want to come in and show them what you got; show them your stuff," said Mikolas, who was traded twice in the offseason, once from San Diego and once from Pittsburgh. "The last team you end up with is the team that wants you the most, so I'm glad they had the desire to go out and get me and now I want to get out on the mound."
Armed with a 93-94 mph fastball and quality curveball, Mikolas has made 27 big league appearances, all with the Padres. In those 34 innings, the 25-year-old tallied a 3.44 ERA and 24 strikeouts.
• To make room for Joe Saunders on the 40-man roster Wednesday, the Rangers designated infielder/outfielder Alex Castellanos for assignment.
• Jurickson Profar (shoulder tendinitis) threw from 90 feet and to bases Wednesday.
• The Rangers announced that Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program will come to Fort Worth for the first time in 2014. Children aged 13 through 18 can participate in RBI through the City of Fort Worth Youth Athletics Program.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.