ARLINGTON -- Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo had been targeting the current series to return to the lineup, and manager Manny Acta confirmed that barring a setback, he will return on Thursday against the Rangers.

"Choo has a chance to play in the last game of this series," Acta said. "He's going to take it easy today to take a break from the work yesterday, go for baseball activities tomorrow, and if he's fine after that, he'll probably be activated after that."

The return of Grady Sizemore and Choo, who is batting .260 with eight home runs in 84 games, could displace Kosuke Fukudome, who has played in right and center field in the 42 games he has played for the Indians.

Since Fukudome is swinging a solid bat, going 43-for-149 (.289) with 10 doubles and three homers in his past 36 games, Acta said he would see some time in left field, since Sizemore will start in center field when he plays. Shelley Duncan has mostly played in left field, but he's also seen time at designated hitter and first base.

"We are going to have [Fukudome] take some balls in left field, just to have him give us the option to be in the lineup," Acta said. "We know that Sizemore doesn't play every day going forward. But still, there are going to be some days that Choo and Sizemore are going to be there, and if we want to keep Fukudome in the lineup, then he could play left field for us. In the next couple of days, he's going to work out there just to get a feel for it."

Tribe to slow down Pestano, speed up Tomlin

ARLINGTON -- Indians manager Manny Acta said the Indians were hoping to limit the innings of rookie reliever Vinny Pestano, while ramping up the rehab of Josh Tomlin.

Pestano, who appeared in 62 games last season between Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Akron and the Majors, has appeared in 61 games this season for the Indians. He is 8 1/3 innings short of the number he pitched last season.

"In a perfect world, you should increase the innings and the appearances for next year," Acta said. "He's in place to do that the next couple days, and then having those extra guys will give us an opportunity to back off of him a little bit."

Acta said that Pestano is healthy, but the first Major League season is always a grind for any rookie, as their previous seasons never lasted more than 150 games at most.

"He's been pretty good over these last 15 days," Acta said. "It's normal for him to feel a little bit of fatigue at the end of the season, but he's been fine."

Acta also said Tomlin has not had any problems with his rehab and can be expected to pitch again this season.

"Tomlin threw to 100 feet, no setbacks, we're hoping to get him on the mound in a couple days," Acta said.

Acta also said it is uknown at this point whether Tomlin would resume his role as a starter or if he would go to the bullpen. Acta refused to speculate, saying the organization would have a better idea of Tomlin's rule for the remainder of this season after the simulated game.

Indians call up promising reliever Putnam

ARLINGTON -- Before Tuesday's game against the Rangers, the Indians called up reliever Zach Putnam, who had spent all season in Triple-A Columbus.

Putnam, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, impressed the organization with his performance in Triple-A, posting a 3.65 ERA and amassing 68 strikeouts with 23 walks in 69 innings.

"He's a guy that we like," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We feel that he has the stuff to be an option for us next year to be in the mix. We're going to take a look at his last couple weeks and see what he can do up here. He had a pretty decent year for us in Triple-A. We feel he's got some out pitches that can help us out."

For Putnam, putting on a jersey for the first time in a Major League ballpark represented the realization of a lifelong dream.

"It's unbelievable, words can't describe it," Putnam said. "I'm so excited."

Putnam, who resides in Ann Arbor, Mich., said his mother couldn't make it to Arlington, but she will be on hand when the Indians return to Cleveland next Tuesday for a doubleheader against the White Sox.

"My dad just arrived," Putnam said. "My mom won't be able to make it this time, but she'll catch us in Cleveland when we get back there."

Indians gear up for grueling stretch drive

ARLINGTON -- On Tuesday, the Indians embark on their most grueling stretch of the season, as three rainout makeups have not only erased their final off-day, but have also added two more games.

The Tribe will close with 18 games in 16 days. Even so, manager Manny Acta has said he will approach those games like the first 144.

"If you don't see our everyday guys playing every day, it's because they're finishing their rehabs up here, like Grady [Sizemore] and [Jason] Kipnis," Acta said. "Up until the end, we're not going to back off on anybody or give some kids time."

Acta said it would be a disrespect to the game to field anything other than the team's best lineup.

"We're playing meaningful games, even towards the end," Acta said. "If we fall off, we're still going to be playing teams that are going to be in it, up until we see Chicago and Detroit in the last week. Out of respect to baseball, that's the way it should be. We're going to go all out."

As far as the physical toll of the sheer number of games over the 16-day span, Acta said they would be less intense about having batting practice every day.

Acta also said the depth of the roster since the Sept. 1 expansion will make it easier to keep individual players fresh.

"We have a couple of doubleheaders, so we're going to have to monitor that," Acta said. "The fact that we do have some extra players now because of September callups gives some guys a breather."

Worth noting

• The Indians come into Friday's game having won two games in the previous two years against the Rangers.

• Shelley Duncan is batting .314 with eight runs scored and five home runs in the month of September. The five homers are second in the American League for the month.