BALTIMORE -- Injured starting pitchers Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison are both on the Rangers' road trip to Baltimore and Detroit. Both are hoping their work this week leads to a significant next step immediately after the All-Star break.
Harrison, who has had two surgeries to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, is throwing long toss and playing catch off the mound. That's his plan for the rest of this week. But if that goes well, he could start throwing in earnest off the mound after the All-Star break.
"We're still looking at the end of August if all goes well," said Harrison, who had his second surgery on May 2. "Maybe six or seven bullpen sessions and a couple of live batting practices and hopefully I can get in a game [on a rehab assignment] by the beginning of August. But everything has to go right for that to happen."
Lewis has had his setbacks in the past five weeks while trying to come back from flexor tendon surgery in his right elbow. He's twice been recalled from a medical rehabilitation assignment because of discomfort in his elbow but is scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Tuesday. He is hoping to do that twice on this road trip.
"We'll see how it reacts and then see if I'm ready for a rehab assignment," Lewis said.
Lewis, who had surgery on July 27, 2012, would likely need a minimum of three starts in the Minors before the Rangers would consider him an option for the Major League rotation. That would push it right up to the July 31 Trade Deadline and be a factor in the Rangers willingness to trade for starting pitching help.
Alexi Ogando, who is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to make his second rehab start on Thursday in the Minor Leagues. He would make a third start the following Tuesday and that could possibly put him in position to be activated off the disabled list after the All-Star break.
Rangers undecided about Wednesday's starter
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers continue to investigate the possibility of acquiring starting pitching and remain undecided about who will start on Wednesday against the Orioles.
It is between right-handers Josh Lindblom and Ross Wolf, but both were still a part of the Rangers nine-man bullpen on Monday night. Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers will likely make a decision after Monday's game.
"It's between those two, but we have to see if we need them tonight," Washington said before Monday's game.
Lindblom is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts for the Rangers and hasn't allowed a run in three relief appearances. But he was also 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance for Triple-A Round Rock after being switched from the bullpen to the rotation at the beginning of the season.
"My preference is I'd like to start but you can't complain about being in the big leagues in any capacity," Lindblom said. "Whether it's in the rotation or in the bullpen, doesn't matter."
Wolf pitched a third of an inning on Monday night, but after the Rangers' 8-5 victory, Washington still held off making a formal announcement on a starter for Wednesday. Washington said he wanted to discuss it with pitching coach Mike Maddux before making a call.
Andrus returns to No. 7 spot in lineup
BALTIMORE -- After two games in his customary No. 2 spot in the order, Elvis Andrus was dropped back to the seventh spot for Monday's game against the Orioles. The move comes even though Andrus entered Monday having hit in four straight games and was batting .289 in his last 12 games. That's not exactly a hot streak, but Andrus is still trying to find himself offensively during what has been a rough first half of the season.
"I feel better … much better," Andrus said. "But I need to keep working. It hasn't been an easy year but I think it's turning around. I have plenty of at-bats ahead. I still think the best of me is coming soon."
Andrus went into Monday's game with the Orioles hitting .244 with a .301 on-base percentage and a .285 slugging percentage. Those would be the lowest in the first half of a season over his first five years in the big leagues. As a rookie in 2009, Andrus hit .253 with a .315 on-base percentage and a .350 slugging percentage.
Andrus' offensive numbers are why he won't be going back to the All-Star Game for the third time in the last four years. J.J. Hardy of the Orioles was voted as the starter and Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers was selected as his backup.
"I still have plenty of years left," Andrus said. "The guys who are going deserve to go. I don't deserve it. That's the way it is. I still have plenty of more years left to make it."
• Jeff Baker, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb, was able to swing a bat on Monday even though he did not try to hit a baseball. Baker had a cortisone shot a week ago and said he is experiencing significant improvement.
• Craig Gentry, who is on the disabled list with a fractured left hand, hit off a tee and soft toss pitching on Monday.
"It's better," Gentry said. "I still feel some soreness, but I can definitely feel improvement each day."
• Washington said Joakim Soria is available out of the bullpen on Monday night. Soria was activated off the disabled list on Sunday and pitched a scoreless inning in the Rangers' 5-4 victory over Oakland. Soria threw just 11 pitches and Washington said he should be available on back-to-back games if he keeps his pitch count down.
"I feel good," Soria said. "As long as I feel good, I don't see why not."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.