Scheppers working around sprained right ankle

Reliever to have at least one bullpen session before seeing game action

Scheppers working around sprained right ankle

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers played long toss on Thursday while dealing with a sprained right ankle. But the Rangers don't know when he will pitch in a Cactus League game.

Scheppers was scratched from Wednesday's "B" game because of the injury that occurred on Sunday. It was supposed to be his first outing of the spring.

"There is still time to get him on the mound, get him up and running and get him built up," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Scheppers missed most of last season because of a strained right elbow and the Rangers were planning to monitor him carefully this spring anyway. But he is also expected to be the Rangers' top right-handed setup reliever and Banister said he won't push him just to be ready on Opening Day.

"It's more about getting him ready for the season and not just the start of the season," Banister said.

The Rangers want Scheppers to have at least one throwing session off the mound in the bullpen before he pitches in a game. There is no timetable for that.

Worth noting

Derek Holland is scheduled to pitch one inning in a "B" game against the Padres on Saturday in Peoria. He has been sidelined with a sore left shoulder. It will be his first outing of the spring.

• Country music legend Charley Pride gave a concert for the Rangers in the clubhouse on Thursday.

• Banister was thrilled with first baseman Prince Fielder's baserunning in the first inning on Wednesday against the White Sox. Fielder, with runners at the corners, went from first to second on a pitch in the dirt. He later scored on another wild pitch.

Said Banister: "It cost me out of my pocket. We put an emphasis on baserunning and I challenged them all, 'If you want to fine me, be the first one to get a 'dirt ball' bag.' You saw the excitement, what a groundswell to have your leader to be excited and energized. It was fun for me to watch. Those type of things allow us to win games."

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.