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Andrus looks to stick at No. 2 spot

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Elvis Andrus returns to the No. 2 spot in the batting order for tonight’s 7:05 series-opening clash with the Red Sox after playing a handful of games in the lower third of the lineup.

Manager Ron Washington indicated he hopes the move is permanent.

"Elvis is a good hitter...he’s not a bad hitter," Washington said. "I want Elvis back in the second hole, and I hope he stays there."

The manager noted that Andrus has been "staying inside better" and using the middle of the field more of late. Andrus has a five-game hitting streak with three walks since dropping in the order. He had gone 2-for-27 in seven games before his drop. He’s batting .227 with an on-base percentage of .297.

Andrus in the last week had two starts each batting seventh and eighth and one at No. 9.

Michael Choice filled in at the No. 2 spot in two games, including last night's 5-0 win over the Rockies. Leonys Martin, Daniel Robertson and Josh Wilson had one. Robertson and Wilson are no longer on the 25-man roster.

The case against Martin at No. 2 is Washington’s desire to avoid two left-handed hitters in succession at the top of the order. With lefty-swinging Shin-Soo Choo established at the leadoff spot, Andrus in the second spot fits the bill.

Bullpen rested: The Rangers' relief staff, in disarray following three lopsided losses to the Rockies, should be at full strength tonight with the exception of Nick Martinez.

Martinez extended his streak of scoreless innings to 8 2/3 over his last three appearances by recording three stressful outs Thursday.

Washington praised Martinez's postgame quote where he said he was not going to give into Jordan Pacheco with a 3-2 pitch with two in scoring position in the sixth inning. Martinez struck him out to end the threat.

"I hope he continues to have that mindset," the manager said.

On the mend: Joe Saunders is scheduled to make a rehab start in Double-A Frisco on Saturday. He said he hopes to throw around 80 pitches and then pitch for Triple-A Round Rock in Iowa on Thursday without a pitch limit. Saunders went on the 15-day disabled list in early April with a bruised left ankle.

Saunders threw 66 pitches in a recent rehab start.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm playing it by ear. A lot can happen with two starts by Thursday."

Rangers Opening Day starter Tanner Scheppers has been playing long catch and hopes to continue his rehab by throwing off a mound Monday. Scheppers went on the DL with right elbow inflammation on April 18.