OAKLAND -- Mark Ellis is just two days away from his scheduled activation from the disabled list, but the A's second baseman won't be returning to the field when that time comes.
Ellis, 32, is in the middle of a gradual rehab program put together by A's strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo. The veteran infielder, who is rehabbing a strained left hamstring in Phoenix, has begun hitting off a tee but has yet to face pitchers.
Once past that step, Ellis will likely be given a Minor League rehab assignment, but there is currently no timetable for his return.
"The good news is that he's doing better every day and is now doing baseball activity," manager Bob Geren said Tuesday. "He'll need to make sure he can swing at game speed, so he would have to be put to that test before he's ready."
Ellis is currently in the midst of his fifth career stint on the DL, where he was placed April 21 after leaving the previous day's game following just five innings of work. He had missed seven games with the injury from April 12-18.
A's recall Mazzaro to start against Rangers
OAKLAND -- As expected, the A's on Tuesday recalled right-hander Vin Mazzaro from Triple-A Sacramento to make his season debut against the visiting Rangers in place of the injured Justin Duchscherer.
In order to make room for Mazzaro, the club optioned infielder Steve Tolleson to Sacramento, from which he was recalled on April 27. He made his Major League debut the following day and singled Friday in Toronto for his first big league hit.
Mazzaro, meanwhile, was 1-1 with a 2.59 ERA in five games -- four of them starts -- with the River Cats. The 23-year-old did not allow a run in three of his five outings and began the season with a 12 1/3 inning scoreless streak.
The young pitcher is no stranger to Oakland, though. Mazzaro made his Major League debut with the A's last June and went 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA in 17 starts before being shut down in September with right shoulder tendinitis.
The A's are hoping they witness the Mazzaro that lit up as a June callup, the one who didn't allow an earned run while winning his first two starts. He proved to be far less effective after the All-Star break, going 2-4 with a 7.21 ERA. Furthermore, the club is counting on a lower WHIP, which stood at 1.74 upon his exit last year.
"He feels good," manager Bob Geren said. "He feels confident, and he's been throwing the ball well."
In five games (two starts) with the A's this spring, Mazzaro was 1-0 with a 6.28 ERA. He surrendered 15 hits and eight walks through 14 1/3 innings while building up his arm strength.
"He's back in the strike zone, his stuff is back and his velocity is back," Geren said. "We're looking forward to seeing him."
Duchscherer's cortisone shot postponed
OAKLAND -- A's right-hander Justin Duchscherer's scheduled cortisone procedure was postponed a day, manager Bob Geren announced Tuesday.
"They'll attempt to do it tomorrow," the A's skipper said.
The right-handed Duchscherer, scratched from his Tuesday start due to left hip inflammation that surfaced in his most recent outing, declined to talk to media about the situation.
On Monday, Duchscherer visited Nashville-based physician Dr. Thomas Byrd, who discovered the inflammation in the pitcher's hip. All things considered, that's slightly good news for Duchscherer, who admitted that the pain "feels identical" to what experienced in his surgically repaired right hip.
The Oakland starter left Thursday's game in Toronto in the fourth inning and, if all goes well, will likely resume throwing a few days following the cortisone shot.
Sacramento woman named Honorary Bat Girl
OAKLAND -- Major League Baseball will do its part to promote breast cancer awareness this weekend, when it will feature a number of activities throughout its ballparks.
On Tuesday, MLB and Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced the winners for the 2010 Honorary Bat Girl Contest. After receiving nearly 1,000 testimonials of inspirational breast cancer survivors, advocates and supporters of the cause, a panel of celebrity judges and more than four million online votes determined the winner for each team.
Home teams will recognize their Honorary Bat Girl on Sunday, Mother's Day, while road teams will designate a later date to celebrate their honorary bat girls.
Raquel de la Torre, of Sacramento, Calif., will serve as the A's Honorary Bat Girl when they host the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. De la Torre will take part in pre-game ceremonies, be honored during the game, receive pink MLB merchandise and a pair of tickets to Sunday's game.
Hundreds of players will also be swinging pink bats, which we be auctioned off later to raise more money for Komen for the Cure. Players will also wear pink ribbons and wristbands as symbolic reminders of the cause.
Since its inception in 1982, Komen for the Cure has become the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists and has raised nearly $1.5 billion to promote awareness.
OAKLAND -- Left-hander Brett Anderson, on the disabled list with a medial forearm strain and elbow irritation, will begin playing catch this weekend, manager Bob Geren said. ... Coco Crisp, who began the season on the DL with a fractured pinkie finger, will undergo his next X-ray on Thursday to determine what type of baseball activity he can resume.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Alex Espinoza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.