Injuries: Lance Berkman debuts; Elvis Andrus sits

SURPRISE, Ariz.--Lance Berkman will bat leadoff Thursday against the Cleveland Indians in his Texas Rangers and 2013 Cactus League debut.

Berkman has been sidelined with a sore calf but has been participating in running drills for the last few days. The Rangers are counting on the switch hitter to provide offense and leadership for a team that lost Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young in the offseason.

"I know what he is capable of doing," manager Ron Washington said. "I know what it is like to get up there for the first time and face live pitching in a competitive situation. My only concern is that when it is all over he is healthy."

The Texas native has played first base and outfield during his 16-year career but will predominantly serve as a DH for the Rangers. The lighter workload should benefit Berkman, who has battled injuries the last few seasons and played just 32 games for St. Louis in 2012.

"I think it will beneficial for me from a health standpoint, there is less wear and tear," Berkman said of being a DH. "I think that is why they signed me, to fill that need, and I'm fine with doing it."

Washington said he would like Berkman to get 40-50 at-bats this spring.

Other injury notes:

  • SS Elvis is out because of muscle soreness brought on by a new tattoo. You can read about that here.

  • OF Engel Beltre is feeling better but is still listed as day-to-day with a sore shoulder. The Rangers acknowledged a decision will need to be made soon regarding his eligibility for the World Baseball Classic. Beltre is currently slated to represent Spain.

  • RHP Colby Lewis (torn flexor tendon surgery) is scheduled to throw off a full mound for his first bullpen session Friday.

  • OF Craig Gentry (tight left hamstring) is improving but will be scratched for a second day. He will participate in outfield drills and batting practice.

  • 3B Adrian Beltre continues his recovery from a sore calf, but no return date has been announced.

  • RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session yesterday and will throw another Friday.

  • RHP Tanner Scheppers (tight left hamstring) reported no problems from his Wednesday bullpen session and will throw another Friday.

  • RHP Yoshinori Tateyama (back stiffness) was scratched this morning. He was scheduled to pitch Thursday but will miss at least a couple of days.

  • RHP Kyle McClellan (right shoulder soreness) and RHP Wilmer Font (biceps tendinitis) are throwing long toss at 120 feet today. ... OF Joey Butler (lower back stiffness) is listed as day-to-day. ... RHP Justin Miller (Tommy John surgery) will throw a bullpen session today.