Harden is being pushed back "at least" one day, manager Ron Washington said, allowing Colby Lewis to start Saturday's game against Boston. Harden or tonight's starter, C.J. Wilson, will take the mound for Sunday's finale of the five-game homestand.
Monday's off day and another Thursday make it possible for Washington to shorten the rotation. Lewis, who had a hard-luck no-decision Sunday at Oakland, will have five days between starts. Harden will have a full seven days between starts if Washington tabs him for Sunday's game against the Red Sox. Washington said he will make that decision Wednesday.
Cliff Lee will start Wednesday's game against New York, the finale of the short, two-game series, with Tommy Hunter starting Friday to open a three-game set against the Red Sox.
*Relief pitcher Dustin Nippert is getting closer to returning since getting hit in the head with a line drive July 19. He threw long toss off flat ground for the fourth time in five days Tuesday and reported no headaches or dizziness, as had been the case in several other attempts to get back to baseball activities.
"It means a lot because he's taken a few chances to try to come back and it didn't work," Washington said. "This time he's throwing the baseball, he's not coming up with the headaches, so he's getting over it. That was scary. It didn't glance him; it hit him solid. I'm glad he's getting back into baseball activities, just for his peace of mind, because that was scary."
*Catcher Matt Treanor is making progress toward a return since going on the DL on July 24 with a strained PCL in his right knee. Treanor ran the bases Tuesday and is getting back to baseball activities. He was eligible to return Sunday, but he's still not certain when he will be back.
When he returns, he won't be wearing No. 15. He's given up the number to newcomer Cristian Guzman, who asked Treanor for the number because he's worn it his entire career. Treanor gave it up and will don a number he's worn before, No. 20, the number his late brother, Michael, wore.
*Washington found a silver lining for Sunday's sure-to-be-toasty 2 p.m. start against Boston.
"Well, you know what it does is it will get us out of here and on the road at a reasonable hour, get us into Tampa at a reasonable hour instead of getting up there at 3 in the morning," Washington said, referring to a three-game set at Tampa Bay starting Monday night. "I have no problem with playing day games on Sundays. We just have to endure it."
More good news is that after another forecasted four consecutive days of temperatures warmer than 100 degrees, the string is expected to snap Sunday, when the high is projected to be only 98 degrees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
*Washington opted to go with Jorge Cantu Tuesday night against Yankees righty A.J. Burnett, preferring to bat the veteran right-handed hitter. Washington said Mitch Moreland will be back at first base Wednesday.