Dunning plans to return from the COVID-19 injured list Friday to pitch an inning in the Rangers' series opener in Oakland, Levi Weaver of The Athletic reports.

Dunning has been on the COVID-19 IL since Aug. 25, with his two-plus-week layoff suggesting that he most likely tested positive for the virus. The right-hander is in the process of regaining conditioning, and he appears to be feeling good after he tossed 23 pitches in a simulated game Monday. The Rangers' plans for Dunning over the rest of the season aren't entirely clear, but if he does in fact return Friday, he'll likely be limited to a bullpen role or working as an opener in front of Glenn Otto. Since Texas isn't sending Dunning out on a minor-league rehab assignment in which he would be able to build up his pitch count, he may not fill a traditional starting role for the remaining three weeks of September.

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