Ross could join Rangers in first week of June

Ross could join Rangers in first week of June

DETROIT -- Right-hander Tyson Ross is still trying not to look too far ahead, but he is getting closer to joining the Rangers' rotation.

Ross threw 65 pitches in an extended spring training game on Thursday in Arizona, allowing two runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out five in his second extended outing.

"I'm feeling good," Ross said. "It's nice to have back-to-back starts and see how the body feels. I'm making good progress. It's a matter of building up arm strength and getting better each time out."

Ross joined the Rangers in Detroit on Friday. He is expected to throw a bullpen session on Saturday, then pitch in a Minor League game on a medical rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday. The Rangers will likely want Ross to make two starts in the Minors before considering him as an option at the Major League level.

But that could be in the first week of June.

"We'll see how he feels and how everything goes with his rehab assignment," Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "The one thing I know is that he feels really good. He showed up today feeling great with no problems. That's pretty good."

Ross underwent right shoulder surgery to relieve issues caused by thoracic outlet syndrome on Oct. 13 after making just one start for the Padres in 2016. The Rangers signed him as a free agent in the offseason with the understanding Ross would not be ready for Opening Day.

Ross' first pitch to Utley

The original target return date was early May, but that was delayed when Ross started feeling spasms in his upper back in April. That pushed his schedule back at least 2-3 weeks.

"We want to make sure everything is fine," Brocail said. "He is all over the thoracic outlet syndrome. I don't think that's an arm injury. The major concern was the back. It took a while to get over that."

Ross said he is still trying to focus on his next assignment and not get ahead of himself. That has been his mantra throughout the rehab process. But at some point, the Rangers expect both Ross and Cole Hamels (strained ribcage muscle) to be in their rotation.

"It will be like getting two guys at the Trade Deadline," Brocail said. "That would be a pretty good outlay."

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.