ARLINGTON -- Brett Anderson is tentatively slated to make his return to the mound on Friday in Chicago, but manager Bob Geren doesn't want to make anything official until the young A's lefty pitches one final bullpen session.
Anderson, though, is more than confident he'll be ready for the task.
"All signs are pointing forward," Anderson said before Tuesday's game against the Rangers. "It'll just be about getting over that initial hump and continuing on and staying healthy for the rest of the year."
The southpaw hasn't made a start for Oakland since June 3 due to elbow tendinitis, which also kept him out of the mix from April 25 to May 28. He tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, giving up just four hits and striking out nine with 87 pitches.
Thus, he believes he's ready to go the distance Friday, saying he'll likely be eyeing the 100-pitch mark, "which is a pretty normal start, anyway."
In Anderson's first start coming off the disabled list in May, he held Detroit scoreless over 5 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits. But in his next start at Boston, he had to leave the game after two innings because of elbow pain. He gave up five hits and two runs and now thinks he may have rushed his return back then -- something he's tried to avoid this time around.
"I think the longer rehab strengthened my arm more this time," he said. "Going through it the first time, you never really know what to expect. But something like an elbow injury, you can't hurry up the process. I feel good about where I am right now, and I'm ready to help the team."
Anderson's return happens to cross paths with Ben Sheets' exit to the DL. The elder pitcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow on Saturday, and there is no timetable on his return until he visits with orthopedist and Rangers physician Keith Meister while in Texas this week.
"You never want to come back under those circumstances, with someone else on the DL," Anderson said. "It's unfortunate for Ben, but hopefully it's nothing too serious and we'll get him back soon, too."
Anderson's potential Friday start pushes Dallas Braden to Saturday, and Anderson will look to build on a season that -- before his injury -- saw him go 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in six starts.
Bailey feeling better, but still day-to-day
ARLINGTON -- Andrew Bailey walked out of the visitors' clubhouse Tuesday feeling "a whole lot better," but it wasn't enough to convince manager Bob Geren to change his closer's status from day-to-day to available.
Bailey, sidelined since July 20 with upper back spasms, threw out to a distance of 200 feet Tuesday afternoon, but Geren would like to see the A's reliever undergo a bullpen session before deeming him eligible to pitch.
That time could come as soon as Wednesday, and if all goes well, Geren said Bailey could potentially be available that night for the club's second contest of a three-game set in Texas.
"He's feeling good," Geren said, "but he's still day-to-day. There's a chance for tomorrow."
The A's could very much use their top reliever during the pivotal series with the first-place Rangers, who boast their own All-Star closer in Neftali Feliz. The young Texas hurler entered Tuesday's affair with an American League-leading 28 saves, including 19 in a row. Bailey, meanwhile, has not allowed a run in 13 of his past 15 appearances, a stretch over which he's compiled a 1.10 ERA. He has a 1.56 mark for the season, good for the sixth lowest among AL relievers.
Cust ejected for arguing called third strike
ARLINGTON -- A's slugger Jack Cust was ejected in the top of the seventh inning during Tuesday's game against the Rangers after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Kerwin Danley.
Cust, facing Texas lefty Cliff Lee in a 1-2 count, watched a called third strike pass by him, at which point he exchanged only a couple of words with Danley before being tossed from the 1-1 game.
It marked the third called strikeout of the contest for Cust, who started the game as the designated hitter.
Jackson working his way back to A's
ARLINGTON -- Conor Jackson updates continue to be few and far between, as there is still no timetable for a rehab assignment for the A's outfielder.
Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list -- marking his second DL stint of the year -- on July 5 with a right hamstring strain and has been stationed in Arizona since the beginning of the All-Star break. Manager Bob Geren on Tuesday reported that he is "feeling better," but no plans have been made for him to play in Minor League games.
"He's hitting," Geren said, "so he's staying in shape. He's still working on the running, though."
Jackson had hoped to return shortly after the break, but Geren mentioned "there was a plateau" stage -- not necessarily a setback -- in his rehab development.
"He was progressing for a while," Geren said, "and then all of a sudden, he was kind of staying the same. But now he's back on track."
At the time he was placed on the DL, Jackson said he first strained his hamstring on June 17 at Chicago's Wrigley Field while playing his third game with the A's after being traded by the D-backs and aggravated the injury the next day in St. Louis. Jackson missed 18 games for Arizona -- spending time on the DL with a strained right hamstring from April 18 to May 8 -- but he said the injury occurred in a different spot this time.
In Jackson's stead, Geren has been playing musical chairs with his outfield, handing Matt Watson and Matt Carson, along with Gabe Gross, time in the outfield. On Tuesday, with Rajai Davis back in the lineup and playing left field after missing a couple of games with a sore left hamstring, Geren placed Coco Crisp in center and Carson in right field.
Cliff Pennington received a day off Tuesday, and Adam Rosales was given his eighth start of the season at shortstop in his place. ... Manager Bob Geren said he'd like to continue to keep Jack Cust's hot bat in the lineup. The A's designated hitter entered Tuesday having driven in at least one run in nine of his last 11 games and is batting .333 with six home runs and 15 RBIs over that span. Cust went 7-for-17 on the club's most recent six-game homestand, a time during which he jumped over the .300 mark. ... Right-hander Tyson Ross, who began the year in the bullpen with the A's, threw five shutout innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. He has thrown 10 shutout frames with 15 strikeouts over his past two starts. ... Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly will manage the Phoenix Desert Dogs -- a team that will include a handful of A's prospects -- of the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 12.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.