Positive signs for Cashner in simulated game

Positive signs for Cashner in simulated game

ARLINGTON -- Andrew Cashner, on the disabled list because of a right biceps issue, was able to get up to 72 pitches in a simulated game at Globe Life Park on Wednesday.

Adrian Beltre, who is sidelined with tightness in his right calf, was among the hitters Cashner faced in his simulated four innings. Cashner struck out Beltre twice, but Beltre also hit one off the wall in center. Drew Robinson homered off Cashner.

Beltre is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, but the Rangers aren't sure he'll be ready. He is able to swing the bat, but he hasn't run full speed yet and probably won't try until Saturday. The Rangers also haven't decided if he will need at-bats in a Minor League game before being activated.

"My eyes tell me he is feeling OK out there," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's getting better. Get him through today, and we'll make a decision on these things tomorrow or the next day."

Cashner's next step will be a rehab start in the Minors next Monday. The goal would be five innings and 75 pitches, which might put him in position to join the rotation on April 15, when the Rangers will need a fifth starter for the first time.

But it might take a little longer than that.

"I would like to see at least two outings in the Minor Leagues," pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "Game situations. If we rush it and something happens, we look like idiots. We want him back, but when we get him back, we want it for the full year."

Cashner is hoping for April 15 but understands the process.

"I've been injured," Cashner said. "If they want an extra start, we'll do it. This is Spring Training. I'm still trying to get a feel for pitches and work on things. It's about going through the steps."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.