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February 23, 2013

Saturday from Surprise: Berkman, Beltre, Nathan starting spring slow

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Joe Nathan are three of the top four players in Rangers' big-league camp in terms of service time. And all of them are taking it slow early on in spring training, which is OK with the team.

Berkman, who is dealing with a minor right calf injury and recovering from knee surgery, is scheduled to run the bases today. That's the last step before he's cleared for game action and Berkman hopes to be in the lineup on Sunday.

But he knows that's unlikely as the Rangers don't want to push him. Berkman isn't concerned about a limited spring training. He said he had a limited spring in 2006, a season in which he set career-highs in homers (45) and RBIs (136).

Berkman is slightly ahead of Beltre, who is dealing with a similar right calf injury. Beltre isn't concerned, though, as he feels 10-14 games is all he needs to be ready for the season.

"We all know spring training is too long," Beltre said.

Nathan is not dealing with an injury, but has been slow-pacing it since the start of spring. With the World Baseball Classic, spring is longer than normal this year and Nathan is about five days behind the rest of the pitchers.

Nathan threw live batting practice on Friday, and should be ready to go in games in early March.

Here are a few other injury updates:

* Tanner Scheppers is dealing with a mild left hamstring strain. He pitched on Friday, but will be given a day or two off to recover. It's not considered serious.

* Kyle McClellan has what was described as "general soreness." He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday.

* Joakim Soria has increased his bullpen sessions to 45 pitches.

* Engel Beltre is dealing with some soreness below his left shoulder blade. He made a couple long throws in Friday's game, which caused the minor injury.

-- Drew Davison

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