If WC race goes to final day, Hamels will start

Kela, Bush closer to returning; Mazara rejoins Texas lineup

If WC race goes to final day, Hamels will start

ARLINGTON -- If the American League Wild Card race goes down to the final day of the regular season, the Rangers will have Cole Hamels on the mound.

That was the case two years ago when the AL West race went down to the final day and Hamels pitched the Rangers to a 9-2 victory over the Angels.

Manager Jeff Banister said Hamels will start on Monday against the Mariners and pitch every fifth day for the rest of the season. That would put him in line to start the regular-season finale, Oct. 1, against the Angels. If the Rangers have a Wild Card spot clinched by then, Hamels would be pushed back to start the Wild Card Game on Oct. 3.

"He is our most experienced pitcher out there," Banister said. "His body of work speaks for itself."

Hamels works out of trouble

Hamels and Miguel Gonzalez pitched in a doubleheader against the Braves on Wednesday. Gonzalez is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday against the Mariners. A.J. Griffin will start Sunday against the Yankees.

Kela, Bush push closer

Keone Kela and Matt Bush both threw in the bullpen Friday and continue to progress toward being activated off the disabled list.

"I think Keone is closer than Bush," Banister said.

Kela has been sidelined since Aug. 3 with soreness in his right shoulder. If he comes through Friday's bullpen session without any issues, he could be activated by Sunday.

"We still have to see how he feels," pitching coach Doug Brocail said.

Bush escapes a jam in the 6th

Bush hasn't pitched since Aug. 20 because of a sprained right knee. He threw two light bullpens Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Rangers are waiting to see him really air it out.

"I'm just continuing to build confidence in my mind and my knee," Bush said. "I want to be able to come back and get guys out, not rush back."

Rangers beat

• Outfielder Nomar Mazara was back in the lineup Friday after exiting the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader with tightness in his left quad muscle.

"I still feel it, but it's not that bad," Mazara said. "I'm not going to go crazy, but I'm going to give them what I've got. I don't feel it hitting, just running. I'll take it easy when I'm running."

Mazara's towering two-run smash

• The Rangers added another bat off the bench by calling up infielder Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. Rua was optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 29 and was required to stay down for 10 days even though Round Rock's season ended Monday. Texas has 33 players available on the active roster, including 12 relievers.

• Pitchers Dario Alvarez and Joely Rodriguez have cleared outright waivers and been assigned to the Triple-A roster.

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.