ARLINGTON -- The Texas pitching staff continues to rehab from injury, as Rich Harden and Derek Holland push toward returning to the team in the next few weeks. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said that Harden has felt relief in his gluteus muscle after receiving an injection and will rest for the next few days before beginning his throwing program as early as this weekend. "I took care of some inflammation," Harden said. "I feel good now. I'm ready to get out there. I'm just going to get after my throwing and get back into my training and lower body stuff. I'm feeling good now. I'm going to get some work in, throw some [bullpens], and we'll see."
Holland's shoulder has also improved to the point of not being an issue, according to Levine. He did have a recurrence of the same right knee problem he suffered in Spring Training, but he is still expected to recommence his throwing program this weekend as well. Levine believes that both pitchers will be an option sometime soon after the All-Star break. In the meantime, Tommy Hunter and Dustin Nippert have pitched in their places. Hunter, who's 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA, looks to stay in the rotation. Harden is only worrying about himself and not things outside of his control. "I'm throwing now, so as far as my first 'pen session, I'm not sure when that will be," Harden said. "But I'm going to get some long toss in there first. My shoulder is still in good shape, so it shouldn't take too long to get back up there. I'm just throwing flat right now." Said manager Ron Washington: "First, we've got to go through the process of flat ground stuff. He only threw out to 60 feet yesterday. I think once we get him out to the normal length, which I think is 120 [feet] ... we'll move to the mound. We've just got to build him back up and get him in the process. That's what we're doing right now." Two other pitchers aren't having similar progress, however, as Brandon McCarthy has been shut down with right shoulder stiffness and Eric Hurley had a third surgery on his hand Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Like the first screw that was inserted, the second started backing out, and Dr. Don Sheridan took additional measures in the latest procedure to increase the chances of the screw staying in. Despite that, Hurley won't be able to throw for 6-8 weeks.