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February 28, 2013

Thursday morning from Surprise: Lance Berkman to make his Rangers debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman is in the Texas Rangers' lineup for the first time in his career. He'll lead off as the designated hitter today against the Indians.

Berkman was slowed by a minor right calf injury earlier this spring, and is still recovering from right knee surgery. But he has been cleared to go by the medical staff.

Don't expect to see much of Berkman in the leadoff role, though. He's penciled in as the Rangers' No. 3 batter and has only led off once in his career during the regular-season.

Another scheduled debut this afternoon is Mike Olt in right field. He's going to replace Nelson Cruz midway through the game. Olt has been working in the outfield all spring and has been given the go-ahead from outfield coach Gary Pettis.

Olt joked that he'd like to show off his arm, although he admitted it's not as strong as Cruz's.

On the injury front, here's the latest:

* Outfielder Engel Beltre remains day to day with left shoulder soreness. Beltre is scheduled to play for Spain in the World Baseball Classic, but could pull out if his shoulder continues to bother him.

"It's getting better, but I'll decide tomorrow whether I can play for Spain or not," Beltre said.

* Colby Lewis will throw his first full bullpen session on Friday. It's another step in the process of recovering from flexor tendon surgery.

* Craig Gentry (hamstring soreness) will go through outfield drills today and believes he'll be ready to play on Friday.

* Joey Butler has been scratched off the list of extra players as he has lower back stiffness and is day to day.

* Tanner Scheppers (strained left hamstring) came out of his bullpen well on Wednesday, and will throw again Friday.

* Kyle McClellan and Wilmer Font are playing long toss out to 120 feet.

* Yoshinori Tateyama will be sidelined for a couple days with lower back stiffness.

-- Drew Davison


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