ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just when he was so close, Rangers left-handed starter Derek Holland suffered a setback in his return to the majors when he was scratched from his scheduled rehab start Sunday with back spasms.
Holland was supposed to make his sixth and final rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock against Las Vegas.
Team officials say Holland will remain in Dallas to get rehab for his back. He's missed the entire season while recovering from left knee surgery and was nearing the end of his 30-day rehab stint when the spasms started.
"Just back spasms," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Just got to see how long it takes. He's supposed to throw Sunday and (we'll) see how long it takes (to recover). If the doctor gives him clearance, he’ll be able to still get a start. If not, then it will just have to adjust, just go day-to-day and see."
Washington was noncommittal whether Holland would get another rehab start or just get called to the big club at the end of next week when he's eligible to return from rehab. Players have 30 days to get called to the majors after they start a rehab assignment and Holland will hit 30 days late next week.
Regardless if Holland makes a rehab start next week, Washington said the lefty is part of the discussion to pitch this season if he recovers from the back issue.
"Derek's been discussed about September," Washington said. "We haven’t locked anything down yet, but he's in the discussion. We'll make that decision here soon."
Baker to start Sunday: Scott Baker will get the start Sunday in the finale of this three-game set with the Royals. Baker hasn't pitched since Aug. 12 when he earned the win against Tampa Bay in relief. Baker has a 2.08 ERA in his last seven relief appearances. As a starter, Baker is 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA this season.
Washington said the team won't bring in another long reliever because the club has some well-rested pitchers.
Potential call-ups: LHP Robbie Ross and LF Michael Choice remain with Round Rock and could become September call-ups. Ross was called up Aug. 14 and suffered a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. He allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He was sent back to Round Rock the next day. In his first start after being sent down, Ross earned a win Wednesday, pitching eight strong innings where he allowed two earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Ross is 5-4 with a 4.69 ERA in Triple-A.
"He's still progressing, still progressing," Washington said. "Robbie is doing OK down there."
Choice, an Arlington native who started the season with the Rangers, hit just .177 in 69 games before he was sent down. In 40 games for Round Rock, Choice has a slash line of .262/.371/.454.