It's not so much surprising that Adrian Beltre will accompany the team on the current six-game road trip as it is reassuring. Given that Beltre likely could have avoided the DL to begin with, his return has pretty much been expected to be as soon as it was feasibly possible, and it appears that will be the case. Barring any unforseen setbacks, he'll come back from the DL on Friday in Seattle.
What could potentially be a nice surprise is that Matt Harrison is also accompanying the team on the trip. Harrison was able to put together 8.0 shutout innings on Saturday night for Fricso, and that performance has potentially moved his return date up to this weekend.
For now, the Rangers are indicating that Mike Maddux and Ron Washington want to watch Harrison's bullpen session to see where things stand, but I can't imagine that the organization would fly him to California if there wasn't some though that he could return while the team is on the road.
The Rangers had wanted to see Harrison get to 90 pitches in a game during his rehab, and while he didn't accomplish that -- throwing 86 pitches Saturday night -- it's tough to buy into a narrative that four pitches would be the determining factor on his eligibility for the Rangers rotation.
Whether Harrison makes his season debut in Seattle or is sent for one more rehab start, it appears that Harrison's results -- and velocity, which ticked up to 94 and sat around 93 -- have the organization convinced that he can be a contributor very soon.
With that, you'd likely have a rotation of Darvish, Perez, Harrison, Lewis, and Ross, and that certainly looks better than the first week of the season, where we saw Scheppers, Perez, Ross, Saunders, and Martinez.
During Harrison last two full seasons of starting, in 2011 and 2012, he was worth 4.1 and 3.6 WAR, respectively. I'd imagine if the Rangers can get something around 2.5-3 WAR from Harrison this season, they'd be absolutely thrilled.
Furthermore, when you factor in that Derek Holland is expected back at some point this season, the season-long projection of the rotation looks much better than it did down the stretch last season, when the club was looking to Alexi Ogando and Travis Blackley, and Matt Garza never really lived up to the expectations the organization had when it made a trade-deadline deal to acquire him.
That the Rangers are 11-8 at this point is fantastic, and when realizing that there is light coming from the end of the tunnel, it's nice to think that, at least on paper, this ball club is positioned to improve.