LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Robinson Tejeda had a bullpen throwing session on Wednesday. When he was finished, he gave a big high-five to catcher Josh Frasier, gave Sammy Sosa a big hug while the slugger was doing a television interview and walked off the field with a big smile on his face. "I'm back," Tejeda said.
The Rangers hope so. Tejeda has been dealing with a variety of physical ailments over the past two weeks, but was pumped up after his session on Wednesday. "It was a good bullpen," Tejeda said. "There wasn't anything that was bothering me. I thought it would take a little more time, but I'm very excited about this. I'm back." Tejeda has been dealing with both arm and hamstring issues. He was scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against the Devil Rays, but was pushed back three days to give him more rest. He will start on Friday against the Houston Astros. "He threw the ball well," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "There were no problems. He let the ball go and threw his changeup too. Everything was fine. We have our fingers crossed." The Rangers have not officially announced a starter for Saturday, but are still leaning toward reliever Willie Eyre to replace Kevin Millwood, who is on the disabled list. "He's got a pretty god mix of pitches," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's got above average arm strength, a good breaking ball and a [split-finger fastball] that he worked on in Spring Training. He's durable, he's sturdy and he has a good makeup." As far as Minor League starters Josh Rupe, John Koronka and others, Daniels said, "They're still on the radar screen, as far as possibilities, but they haven't pitched as well as we'd like to see." Mahar gets call: Outfielder Kevin Mahar was shocked as anybody when he was called up from Triple A Oklahoma by the Rangers to replace Brad Wilkerson, who was placed on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring muscle. "I still don't believe it," Mahar said. "That was just my 11th game in Triple-A. I was struggling in [Double-A] Frisco and I was surprised when they moved me up to Oklahoma. But I wasn't expecting this." The Rangers were planning to call up Marlon Byrd. But when he also suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday night, Mahar got a call instead. "Fortunately, Marlon's injury is not long-term," Daniels said. "It was more of a cramp than a pull. Marlon's day-to-day, but we couldn't call anybody up who is day-to-day." Mahar, who hit .242 at Double-A Frisco, but .349 at Triple-A Oklahoma, went right into the lineup on Wednesday, batting ninth and playing center field. "He's a young guy who deserves to be up here," manager Ron Washington said. "Let's throw him into the fire and see what he can do." Working the phones: Daniels has been talking to other general managers and keeping an eye on the trade market. But it's the middle of May, and Daniels knows it's unlikely that the Rangers will be able to make a big trade at this point that can pull them out of their swoon. "You can try to tinker and see if there's a move here or a move there," Daniels said. "But for the most part, there's not a whole lot I can do. We're banged up and underperforming at a few positions. The effort is there and the work ethic is there. I want to give these guys a chance to pull out of it." With Wilkerson and Frank Catalanotto on the disabled list, the Rangers could use help in the outfield and another big bat in the lineup. That might eventually be at the top of their shopping list this summer, but not right now. "I'd love one, but it's not realistic this time of the year," Daniels said. "I've had conversations with other clubs as recently as this morning. I'm staying in communication, seeing what's out there and seeing if there's a fit. But it's the middle of May and teams are still in an evaluation mode." He said it: "I tried to kick it into another gear and it went on me. I've never had a hamstring injury, so I specifically can't say how bad this is. All I know is, it's sore." -- Brad Wilkerson, on his hamstring injury Tuesday's Minor Stars: Top performances from the Minors on Tuesday: Gold: Infielder Casey Benjamin was 2-for-5 with a double and a triple in Double A Frisco's 8-4 victory over Midland. Silver: Outfielder Brandon Boggs was 3-for-4 with a run scored in Double-A Frisco's victory and third baseman Travis Metcalf had a three-run home run. Bronze: Outfielder Truan Mehl was 2-for-4 with three RBIs in Class A Bakersfield's 8-4 victory over Lancaster. Briefly: Pitcher Edinson Volquez, promoted from Class A Bakersfield to Double-A Frisco, made his first start for the Roughriders on Tuesday and allowed two runs on three hits in five innings. He walked five and struck out four. ... Hank Blalock went into Wednesday's game with a home run in three straight games. The last Ranger to hit a home run in four straight games was Kevin Mench, when he went deep in seven straight games. ... Ian Kinsler, in a 2-for-35 skid, was given the night off on Wednesday. ... Pitcher Danny Herrera has been promoted from Bakersfield to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Pitcher Randy Williams is going from Frisco to Oklahoma. Up next: Right-hander Kameron Loe pitches for the Rangers at 6:10 p.m. CT Thursday in the finale of the three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.