Darren O'Day closer to return

Updated: June 21, 2011, 8:10 PM ET
ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers reliever Darren O'Day is close to returning from the 60-day disabled list.

O'Day had surgery in late April to repair a partial tear in his left hip. He is eligible to return Sunday.

The submarine-style right-handed reliever threw Monday night for Double-A Frisco, allowing one run -- a homer -- in one inning. He was headed to New Orleans to join Triple-A Round Rock for several more outings.

The Rangers want him to pitch Wednesday, then again Friday and Saturday. Manager Ron Washington said if he can handle pitching that often, then he'll be welcomed back to the big league bullpen.

"He has to be able to get outs and consistently do what he normally does," Washington said. "He has to be able to go back-to-back days and maybe at the point where he can go three out of five. If he can do that, then he'll be ready to come back."

Texas is off Monday, so O'Day likely wouldn't rejoin the team until Tuesday.

"Because the hip was affecting me, I developed some mechanics things that I need to iron out," O'Day said. "There were things I was doing before the hip bothered me and I'm getting back to that. It will be good because now my hip doesn't hurt every pitch and I can recover."

Meanwhile, Rangers catcher Mike Napoli received a cortisone injection in his left obilque muscle on Monday and will take a break for the next 24 to 48 hours to let the area heal. Napoli said the soreness is down to one specific, small spot and he hopes the shot will take care of that.

But the catcher still hasn't taken any full swings, making a return by June 27 (when he's eligible to come off the DL) doubtful. He continues to lift weights, catch some bullpen sessions and run sprints. Napoli said he took some one-armed swings with a small bat using both his top and bottom hand.

"It's just sore to the touch," Napoli said. "They had me twisting and turning and it was fine. We'll see."

Napoli would have to take part in several batting practice sessions once the soreness is gone and then go out for a rehab assignment. So there's no timetable yet on any of that.

Information from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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