NEW YORK -- Injured Texas Rangers starter Alexi Ogando (shoulder) will likely throw live bullpen sessions before he begins rehab starts, according to manager Ron Washington. Ogando has a bullpen session planned for Friday, and Washington said he will probably return after the All-Star Break.
"He's not having any issues now, so we'll see," Washington said Thursday. "But if everything goes well and he can let the ball go like Mike (Maddux) and (Andy Hawkins) need to see it, I think we'll give him some live BP a couple of times. If all that goes well, we'll get him out there."
Washington said that Ogando, who was placed on the disabled list on June 9, would need at least two rehab starts before the team brings him back. Ogando last threw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
When Ogando returns, he will be slotted back in the rotation. Martin Perez is currently filling Ogando's spot and recorded the win in his last start by tossing seven innings of two-run ball against the Cardinals on June 22. He's scheduled to start Friday against Cincinnati. Washington said that the team will make the decision on who gets booted from the rotation when the time comes.
Ogando is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts this year.
"Like to have Ogando back," Washington said. "When Ogando is ready to go, somebody has to go. It's just that simple. Or, maybe someone goes into the bullpen."
Soria inching closer: Joakim Soria (elbow) inched closer to making his return from Tommy John surgery after throwing a scoreless inning for the Arizona League Rangers on Wednesday. He's now made three rehab appearances and will have his next outing Friday for Triple-A Round Rock.
Washington said that adding Soria to the fold would allow him to use different strategies, including giving closer Joe Nathan a chance to rest during save situations.
Soria hasn't pitched since Sept. 11, 2011 and underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2012. Washington rebutted the notion that the team may have too grand of plans for a reliever who hasn't pitched in the majors in more than 21 months.
"We don't have high expectations. We're not going to just throw him in the fire," Washington said. "We'll give him some innings where there's a not a whole lot of stress there and he'll tell us what he can and what he can't do.
"This guy is a different animal. Yes, we have to pay attention to his workload, but I can't see him going out there and throwing 20-something pitches in an inning. Not Joakim Soria. That's just not his mentality."
Beltre starts: The first start of Engel Beltre's career will come in the park of the team he grew up rooting for.
Beltre, who will bat ninth and start in center field Thursday, grew up a Yankees fan. He played high school ball in the Bronx and said he will have about 10-15 family members in attendance for the matinee game. He played for a prep title with James Monroe HS at the old Yankee Stadium.
"I'm so happy to be here," Beltre said. "I wanted to play here in Yankee Stadium and my family to see me play here. That's a great moment for me."