Scheppers may return to 'pen during homestand

Dealing with sprained ankle, reliever struck out side in Double-A rehab stint

Scheppers may return to 'pen during homestand

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers could have reliever Tanner Scheppers back by the end of this current homestand.

Scheppers, who opened the season on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle, pitched for Double-A Frisco on Thursday night and struck out the side in order on 12 pitches in the eighth inning.

"It was a good step," Scheppers said. "It went well, got my work in, things are feeling good. We're definitely headed in the right direction."

Scheppers is scheduled to throw both Saturday and Sunday for Frisco. If that goes well, he could be activated as early as Wednesday against the Angels. If not, the Rangers could give him one more outing on rehab assignment before activating him on the upcoming road trip.

"It's still part of the Spring Training scenario," manager Jeff Banister said. "He needs innings and pitches logged. All indications are he is throwing the ball well. He threw it in the strike zone, that was the key."

• For the second straight game, Banister used Shin-Soo Choo in the No. 2 spot and Elvis Andrus batting seventh.

Choo's three-run blast

"I like where it was yesterday and what we were able to create off of it," Banister said. "The opposing pitcher will have a lot to do with the structure of the lineup. This lineup is the one we're going to run with today."

• Andrus went into Friday's game batting .125 (2-for-16), but he said, "I feel really good. I missed a couple of balls, but my swing is where I want it. It's a long season, but I feel comfortable."

• Andrus did get one break. One of his errors in Oakland has been overturned and ruled a hit, so the shortstop had three in that series instead of four.

Kyuji Fujikawa, who is on the disabled list with tightness in his right groin muscle, threw a bullpen session on Friday. The Rangers will re-evaluate him on Saturday to see if he needs another bullpen session or if he's ready for a rehab assignment.

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.