DETROIT -- When most injured players begin playing catch, the emphasis is on stretching out the distance on throws to strengthen the arm. For Nick Castellanos and his fractured left hand, simply catching a ball is a step in the right direction.
The Tigers third baseman is not catching hard throws or batted balls, more like soft tosses from about 90 feet. And at that, he's not even squeezing the glove much. But once he could put his third baseman's glove on, he could collect the ball in the webbing and start doing baseball activity again.
"I can just put a glove on without pain," Castellanos said Monday after catching tosses from strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Walter on the field at Comerica Park.
The timetable hasn't changed on Castellanos, who remains on track for a potential mid-September return. He can't grip a bat yet, which will be the key in getting back to game shape. But by doing everything else that he can, he's trying to quicken his return once he can resume hitting.
Until then, Casey McGehee remains in line to be the Tigers' everyday third baseman. The veteran Major Leaguer entered Monday batting .244 (19-for-78) with a double and an RBI while playing 20 games without an error at the hot corner.
"He's been a little on the unlucky side," manager Brad Ausmus said of McGehee, "but I think he's also a better hitter than we've seen. He's been very solid defensively."
Castellanos is the last of the Tigers' position players on the 15-day disabled list since Cameron Maybin and Jose Iglesias returned last week. Starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey are in the midst of rehab assignments at Triple-A Toledo, though they've been working out with the Tigers in Detroit between starts.
Pelfrey was scheduled to make his first rehab start on Monday for the Mud Hens at Indianapolis. Zimmermann, who tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Hens on Friday, is scheduled to make his second rehab start Wednesday afternoon at Indy.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.