Lewis hopes to return by end of August

Lewis hopes to return by end of August

ARLINGTON -- Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis is expected to undergo one last MRI exam on Friday before beginning the next steps of his recovery from a right lat strain.

Lewis, who last pitched for the Rangers on June 21, will be eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 21. He's been playing catch from around 60-75 feet the past five days and hasn't felt any discomfort. He expects to return sometime before the end of August.

"Feeling great," he said. "As long as the [MRI] goes well, we'll progress and move forward with bullpens, live batting practice and then a rehab assignment."

Injuries to Lewis and left-hander Derek Holland, who is on the 60-day DL as well, have placed a strain on the Rangers' starters. They received a boost by acquiring right-hander Lucas Harrell from the Braves on Wednesday. Harrell is projected to make his first start with the team on Sunday.

Rangers land Harrell from Braves for prospect

They've also tried right-handers Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Kyle Lohse as replacements in the rotation. Martinez allowed five runs in four-plus innings in Monday night's loss, Gonzalez has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock and Lohse was designated for assignment before Monday's game.

"We need [the replacements] to step up, and we need those guys to fill the voids while me and Derek are down," Lewis said. "It was really good that [Yu] Darvish came back for the last couple weeks. He's going to help fill that role, too. For me, it's just being there with the guys and being there to lift them up and keep that positive attitude so we can turn it around."

Rangers beat

• Rangers manager Jeff Banister expects left-hander Alex Claudio to stick with the team, even though the club acquired left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez from the Braves in the trade with Harrell. It has already been announced that Alvarez will be on the Major League roster.

"That's kind of where we sit. Claudio gives us some options with length," Banister said.

• Outfielder Justin Ruggiano has been released from Round Rock. He had a .226 average in 44 games there this season.

• To make room on the 40-man roster for Harrell and Alvarez, the team designated infielder Matt Duffy for assignment. He had been claimed on waivers from the Astros last week.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.