ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Darren O'Day will take a key step in his rehabilitation over the weekend when he pitches in back-to-back games for the Triple-A Round Rock Express on Friday and Saturday. O'Day, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a torn labrum in his left hip, emphasized that he feels healthy. He tossed an inning Monday with Double-A Frisco before returning for a workout Tuesday. "I did [pitchers' fielding practice] for about 15 minutes today and then Brandon Webb dropped out, so he left me alone with [pitching coach] Mike Maddux for about 10 minutes," O'Day said. "I got moving around a lot."
One of the main goals for O'Day during rehabilitation was to return his delivery to where it was before he started to overcompensate for the pain he had in his hip. "In places the hip was affecting me, I felt a difference in my mechanics where I was getting back to stuff from before the hip started bothering me," O'Day said. "My hip doesn't hurt with every pitch and I can recover much better." Because the Rangers have an off-day next Monday, O'Day, who is eligible to return from the DL Sunday, could realistically return to the club next Tuesday in Houston. First, though, he has to get through rehab assignments. "I'd love to go to Houston, but I have to prove that I'm ready to come back," O'Day said. "I have to go down there and pitch good." Rangers manager Ron Washington stressed that O'Day must prove he can not only pitch but get people out before he returns, just like any other rehabbing pitcher. "He has to be able to get outs and be able to consistently be able to do what he does," Washington said. "He has to be able to go back-to-back days. Got to get him back to the point where he can go three out of five, four out of five. When he can do that, he's ready to come back."