Texas Rangers set to send Max Scherzer on rehab assignment

Texas Rangers starter Max Scherzer, continuing his recovery trail from offseason back surgery, is expected begin his rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues next week.

The team has not announced where in its minor league system that Scherzer will pitch, but signs are pointing toward a return for the veteran right-hander to the defending World Series champions' rotation soon.

On Monday, Scherzer, 39, threw 24 pitches in a live batting practice session, according to Bally Sports Southwest. On Friday night, he threw 40 more pitches in a two-inning simulated game, according to the Dallas Morning News. Scherzer is on track for one more bullpen session before making an appearance in the minors.

Texas manager Bruce Bochy, speaking in Atlanta before the Rangers took on the Braves on Saturday, said Scherzer will likely start on Wednesday but didn't indicate where. Both Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, in the Rangers organization, are home this week, and Bochy's club will return to Arlington, Texas, on Tuesday to begin a series with the Seattle Mariners.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner has told reporters that he has felt ahead of schedule since the moment he returned home from the December surgery.

"I really feel like we're kind of turning the corner here in terms of rehab," Scherzer said April 10. "I'm recovering from things and kind of feeling normal. Looking good."

Scherzer was a trade-deadline pickup for the Rangers last summer, and he was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts before missing the final two weeks of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs because of a strained muscle in his right shoulder.

"To have back surgery, I've been through that, and I've known guys that have been through it," Bochy said this month. "Let's be honest. He's not a spring chicken. For him to bounce back like this and be doing so well, yeah, I am amazed."

The bullpen may get a boost soon as well. Josh Sborz, a reliever who went on the injured list April 6, is eligible to return as early as Tuesday against the Mariners. But he will get some time in the minors while he battles back from a right rotator cuff strain.

Sborz, 30, felt pain in his shoulder while pitching the eighth inning against the Houston Astros earlier this month. The right-hander recorded the final seven outs in the Rangers' World Series-clinching Game 5 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.