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Lowrie, Punto nearing rehab stints for A's

Lowrie, Punto nearing rehab stints for A's play video for Lowrie, Punto nearing rehab stints for A's

HOUSTON -- A's shortstop Jed Lowrie played catch on Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a fractured right index finger, an encouraging sign that may mean he's close to a rehab assignment.

"Hopefully, if that goes well, then maybe we speed things up with him," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been doing everything he can to stay game-ready with taking ground balls. I know he's been doing some one-arm swinging in the cages. So today's a big day in how fast we move forward with him."

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Lowrie is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, but it seems more likely the A's will have him back sometime next week during a homestand that begins Monday.

Another rehabbing infielder, Nick Punto, is making equally significant improvement from a right hamstring strain, which has shelved him since the beginning of the month. He, too, could be sent out on a rehab stint soon.

"Everything's going well," Punto said Tuesday. "The running is that final step. Being able to go 100 percent, that's the key. I feel like I'm pretty close, maybe 90 percent. We're trying to take it day to day, not look too far ahead, but I do feel like I'm getting close."

"If we can take a few days with him and get him running to the point where we're comfortable with potentially getting in a game or two," said Melvin, "that's something we want to do sooner than later because the month's running out here pretty quick."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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