Texas Rangers pitchers Yu Darvish and Keone Kela are both scheduled to throw bullpen sessions tomorrow, according to the beat guys on Twitter.
For Kela, who has been on the disabled list for the bulk of the season, this will be his second bullpen session, and he's slated to throw a simulated game sometime next week. That could set the stage for him to go on a rehab assignment soon thereafter, putting him on schedule to return to the active roster either right before or right after the All Star Break. Kela has been sidelined due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow.
The bullpen, as we all know, has been an issue for much of the season, and having Kela join Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, and Matt Bush in a late game role, together with Tony Barnette and Shawn Tolleson in a middle relief role, would give the Rangers a number of options out of the pen that should hopefully result in Jeff Banister not having to ride the same guys quite so heavily.
Darvish, meanwhile, is throwing his first bullpen, and his return timetable is more nebulous. Darvish is dealing with shoulder soreness that developed after he had returned to the majors from Tommy John surgery, and Jose Fernandez missed four weeks due to a similar ailment last year while returning from TJS. One would assume Darvish will make at least one rehab start, and if his anticipated return is around the All Star Break, making a rehab start during the break would seem to be convenient timing.
The Rangers are currently using Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez as fill-in starters with Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland all on the d.l. The rotation has three more full cycles after today going into the All Star Break, and while I'm sure the Rangers would love to have Darvish replace one of the two fill-ins before then, the Rangers are no doubt going to be cautious with him, and a return soon after the break seems more realistic.