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March 12, 2014

Geovany Soto, Alex Rios nearing return to Rangers lineup

The daily Texas Rangers medical update with assistant general manager Thad Levine, a media highlight each morning, is on its way toward being shorter and shorter.

Catcher Geovany Soto and right fielder Alex Rios, both expected to be in the lineup on Opening Day, are only a few days away from a Cactus League game, and three roster hopefuls have fallen off the report.

Soto caught live batting practice Wednesday and said that he is running at 80 percent. Assuming he has no issues the next two days, he is on target for making his spring debut Saturday.

“The last little bit was getting my foot loose,” said Soto, who had surgery last month to remove a small bone in his left foot. “It feels tight, but no pain. I feel great.”

Rios, who has been slowed by a strained right intercostal muscle, could join Soto on Saturday. Rios took batting practice for a third straight day and said he isn’t concerned that he won’t have enough time to find a comfort zone at the plate before the season.

He could find himself playing in minor-league games to catch up on lost at-bats, said manager Ron Washington. Rios is 4 for 10 in four games this spring.

Utility infielder Brent Lillibridge (bruised right thumb) and right-handers Shawn Tolleson (shoulder inflammation) and Miles Mikolas (elbow inflammation) are off the report after returning to game action Tuesday.

Right-hander Nate Adcock, in camp on a minor-league deal, is finished for the spring and will miss much of the season after he undergoes surgery Thursday to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.

-- Jeff Wilson

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