4/21/2014 9:09 P.M. ET
Harrison could return by Friday
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Pitcher Matt Harrison could return to the Rangers' rotation as early as Friday against the Mariners.
Harrison threw a light bullpen session on Monday and is expected to throw a longer one on Tuesday. If that goes well, Harrison could start on Friday against the Mariners.
"We'll make a determination after he gets all his work in," manager Ron Washington said.
Harrison put himself in position to return with eight scoreless innings on Saturday in his third medical rehab start for Double-A Frisco. Harrison went into the game determined not only to get his work in and get his pitch-count up, but also to get better results than his two previous outings. He appeared to have succeeded in achieving his goal and not worrying about outside distractions like how much longer he would need before he got back to the big leagues.
"Before the innings started, I started thinking about that stuff and squashed it," Harrison said. "I went out there and was focused on each pitch and staying on the attack. It's amazing how your goals and focus can dictate the outcome of the game."
Harrison won 18 games for the Rangers in 2012 and was their Opening Day pitcher in 2013. But he was shut down after two starts because of a herniated disc in his lower back. He twice underwent surgery on April 23 and May 1 and did not return the rest of the year. He had an additional surgery on Sept. 9 on his right non-throwing shoulder to alleviate Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Choice to get start against former team
OAKLAND -- Rangers outfielder Michael Choice will get to face his old team on Tuesday as manager Ron Washington is planning to start him against Athletics left-hander Tommy Milone.
This will be Choice's sixth start in 21 games and they have all been against left-handed starters. He went into Monday 5-for-25 with one home run, but the Rangers are still comfortable Choice is getting enough playing time without hurting his development.
"I think I'm doing a great job of getting him playing time," Washington said. "With what we have, I'm doing my best to get him out there. If I can get him one or two starts a week, we can keep him sharp. Teams seem to want to throw lefties against us so he'll get his at-bats."
The Rangers acquired Choice and Minor League infielder Chris Bostick from the Athletics in the winter for pitcher Josh Lindblom and outfielder Craig Gentry. Choice was the Athletics' No. 1 draft pick in 2010 and the Rangers expect him to one day be an everyday player. But right now he has to adapt to being the fourth outfielder.
"I feel like I'm starting to adjust to the role, little by little," Choice said. "Your natural instinct is to want to be out there every day but I'm adjusting."
When Choice plays, it usually means designated hitter Mitch Moreland sits. Washington's job could get harder later this week when Adrian Beltre comes off the disabled list and returns to third base. Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was the American League Player of the Week, has been playing well in Beltre's absence and, with Jim Adduci on the disabled list, he'll likely have to fill a similar role to Choice as a right-handed hitter off the bench.
"Certain guys are going to play and certain guys are going to have to wait," Washington said. "That's the makeup of the team. Kouzmanoff is a class act. It's not going to be an issue when Beltre returns. That's what his value is. He plays baseball no matter what the situation. He's been a godsend. To do what he's done, I don't know where we would be without him."
Fielder gets intentional record
OAKLAND -- Prince Fielder was walked intentionally again on Sunday for the eighth time this month. He is the first American League player to be intentionally walked that many times in April.
"I don't know … I guess it's part of the job," Fielder said.
All eight intentional walks came on the last homestand. That means they all came while Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list with a strained left quad muscle. Beltre is expected to come off the disabled list on Friday.
When Beltre was active, he batted cleanup behind Fielder. Since he has been gone, Fielder has hit fourth with Kevin Kouzmanoff hitting behind him. Kouzmanoff, hitting .366 going into Monday's game, has been hot but not enough to keep teams from walking Fielder.
"With Beltre in the lineup, they have to pick their poison," manager Ron Washington said. "With Fielder or Kouzmanoff, I'd throw to Kouz. But if I have to choose between Fielder and Beltre, I'd think a little bit."
Fielder went into Monday's game hitting .188 with two home runs, six RBIs and a .333 slugging percentage. But that hasn't deterred teams from pitching around him.
"Everybody knows Prince has not been Prince lately," Washington said. "But they know Prince can be Prince and with one swing of the bat, he can change the whole ballgame."
Fielder is unlikely to get the Major League record for intentional walks for April. Barry Bonds had 18 in 2004. Bonds holds the Major League record for any month as he was walked intentionally 23 times in June and September of 2004.
• Nick Tepesch is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in four starts at Triple-A Round Rock, but the Rangers passed him up in choosing to start Nick Martinez on Tuesday against the Athletics. The Rangers want Tepesch to get extended work at Round Rock, especially continuing his development of a changeup. Said manager Ron Washington, "He's in a place where he can take chances. You can't take chances up here."
• Double-A Frisco pitcher Luke Jackson was the Texas League Player of the Week while Yohander Mendez of Class A Hickory received that honor in the South Atlantic League.
• The Rangers have used the disabled list 11 times this season, the most in the Majors. They have 10 players currently on the disabled list, also the most in the Majors.
• Infielder Andy Parrino has been claimed off waivers by the Athletics and optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. The Rangers designated him for assignment last week to make room for pitcher Aaron Poreda on the 40-man roster. The Rangers claimed Parrino on waivers in Spring Training from the Athletics. Last year the Rangers and the Athletics swapped waiver claims on infielder Adam Rosales, who is currently at Triple-A Round Rock.
• Rangers infielder Luis Sardinas, 20, who made his Major League debut on Sunday with a single against the White Sox, is currently the youngest player in the Major Leagues.
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.