ARLINGTON -- If the Rangers trade coveted starter Cole Hamels before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, they should have left-hander Martin Perez ready to step back into the rotation.
Perez, on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right elbow, said he is getting closer to returning after throwing five scoreless innings in a rehab start at Class A Hickory on Monday.
"I feel good, I am pitching good and my [right] arm feels good," Perez said. "We'll just wait and see what's next, but I am getting close."
Perez threw a bullpen session for the Rangers on Wednesday and will likely have at least two more rehab assignments before he is ready to return to the rotation. His next start will be on Saturday with Double-A Frisco.
The Rangers are in a selling mode as the Trade Deadline approaches, and Hamels is likely to be the most coveted of the players they are willing to trade. He is signed through this season with a club option of $20 million for 2019 and a $6 million buyout. He also has a partial no-trade clause.
All of those issues will have to be addressed before any deal is completed. Right now, the Rangers are sitting back and gauging interest in all of their available players including Hamels, but getting Perez back into the rotation would help fill the void if a trade does happen.
Bush gets injection
Rangers pitcher Matt Bush underwent a stem cell injection to help with the strained flexor tendon in his right arm and is expected to be sidelined for another six weeks.
"I was told it would be some time in August, but who can predict that far ahead?" Bush said.
Bush has not pitched since June 13 because of the strained tendon. The Rangers are being cautious with him because he missed the entire 2008 season while with the Padres while recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
"It has been hard not being able to contribute," Bush said. "Pitching is my job, but it's part of the process. If you have an injury, you have to play it safe and listen to the doctors and trainers."
Mazara gets day off
Outfielder Nomar Mazara was given Wednesday off to rest a strained left hamstring. Mazara aggravated the injury running the bases and had to come out of Monday's game against the Padres. He was used at designated hitter on Tuesday.
The Rangers are off on Thursday, so this gave the Rangers a chance to give Mazara consecutive days of rest.
"This will help a lot," Mazara said. "I've got to rest my legs a little bit. If I keep playing, it's only going to get worse. Today is the best day to take off."
Mazara has been dealing with a sore left wrist, as well, but he said that is no longer a problem. He missed two games on June 15-16 because of the wrist and is 16-for-41 (.390) since then. All 16 hits were singles. His last extra-base hit was a double on June 10 and his last home run was June 3.
"That's just the way baseball is," Mazara said. "I'm hitting the ball hard, the home runs are going to come. Sometimes you hit a lot of home runs and then slow down. I'm getting hits, I'm not going to worry about home runs."
• The Rangers signed their 19th-round Draft pick catcher Xavier Valentin out of Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico. He is the son of former Major League catcher Javier Valentin.
• Catcher Robinson Chirinos will host a baseball clinic for children served by the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake. The two-hour event will feature instruction stations, photos and an inspirational message. The children served by the Buckner Family Hope Center are from the Bachman Lake area, one of the most underserved areas in Dallas.
• The Rangers are off on Monday but will be hosting a blood drive at Globe Life Park in conjunction with Carter BloodCare. The drive will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and interested people can enter through the center-field gate.
• Catcher Carlos Perez will start a rehab assignment on Thursday with Double-A Frisco.