Rangers undecided on post-ASG rotation

Rangers undecided on post-ASG rotation

ARLINGTON -- The suspense about who the Rangers' fifth starter will be after the All-Star break is building. Martin Perez advanced his candidacy by pitching a season-high six innings in his fifth medical rehabilitation assignment for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday.

Perez, who underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on May 19, 2014, allowed two runs on seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six. He threw 79 pitches.

"We heard good things," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "He did well. Everything looks good. His velocity was good, his change was good and his breaking ball was good. It's a matter of Martin getting back to game speed, and he is doing it well."

Perez is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday in what will be his last rehab-assignment start. But Perez does have an option, so the Rangers don't have to immediately activate him. He could be sent to the Minor Leagues to continue pitching until there is an opening.

The Rangers have other candidates for the fifth spot. Chi Chi Rodriguez pitched for Round Rock on Wednesday, and Nick Martinez is scheduled for Saturday. It will be the first Triple-A start for both since being sent to Round Rock.

The Rangers won't need a fifth starter until July 21 against the Rockies. Right now, Martinez is lined up to make that start. After Saturday, he would pitch again on Thursday on his usual four days' rest. That would line him up for the following Tuesday against the Rockies, again on four days' rest.

Right now, the rotation consists of Colby Lewis, Yovani Gallardo, Wandy Rodriguez and Matt Harrison, who started on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing spinal fusion surgery on June 3, 2014. The Rangers have not yet announced their rotation coming out of the All-Star break next week.

The Rangers still aren't sure what they can expect from Harrison, since there is no record of a pitcher coming back from that type of surgery.

"Martin has a very documented injury," Maddux said. "The rehab is very documented. Modern medicine has taken a lot of the chance out of that. Harrison is the guinea pig."

Worth noting 

• First baseman Kyle Blanks, who has been on the disabled list since June 17 with inflammation in both Achilles heels, is taking batting practice but isn't ready to run full speed.

• Double-A pitcher Jake Thompson pitched three scoreless innings for Team USA in a 4-0 victory over Cuba in the Pan-American Games on Tuesday. Infielder Tyler Pastornicky was 2-for-2.

Derek Holland, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left shoulder, throws again in the bullpen on Friday.

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.