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Saturday, March 2, 2013
Nelson Cruz to play against Diamondbacks

By Ron Matejko

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz is returning to the lineup on Saturday and will hit fourth when the Texas Rangers face the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields.

Cruz underwent a battery tests at an Arizona hospital on Friday after experiencing chest discomfort. The tests came back negative and the pain was diagnosed as a muscle strain near his chest.

"He's ready to go," said manager Ron Washington. "I think he was more concerned than anything else. Everything checked out well and now he is well."

The Dominican Republic native will still represent his home country in the World Baseball Classic as planned. He will depart the team on Sunday with five of the other six Rangers who are participating in the international tournament.

The lone exception is outfielder Engel Beltre, (left rhomboid strain) who was scheduled to work out at the Rangers' training facility in Surprise today and possibly play for Texas on Sunday.

He still has a good chance of playing with Spain in its first-round games but will not appear in its exhibitions next week.

Other injury notes:

Lance Berkman returns to the lineup after a scheduled off-day on Friday and will bat leadoff again to maximize his opportunity for at bats. Washington said if Berkman comes out feeling well after playing three innings, then he may have his new DH see back-to-back action for the first time this spring by inserting him into Sunday's lineup.

3B Adrian Beltre continues his recovery from a sore calf and is getting closer to a return, perhaps as soon as early next week.

RHP Colby Lewis threw a bullpen session yesterday as planned and reported no issues. His next step is TBD.

OF Craig Gentry (left hamstring tightness) returns to the lineup today after missing the last three games and will start in center field.

C Eli Whiteside is sidelined with a mild left calf strain.

RHP Kyle McClellan (right shoulder soreness) and RHP Wilmer Font are throwing long toss.

RHP Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery) and RHP Justin Miller (Tommy John surgery) will continue throwing bullpen sessions.

OF Joey Butler (lower back stiffness) has recovered and is available to play today.

RHP Tanner Scheppers (tight left hamstring) is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow.

RHP Yoshinori Tateyama (back stiffness) remains out and will both throw a bullpen session on Sunday.

More team notes:

Commissioner Bud Selig is in attendance at the game and will address the media this afternoon.

Mitch Moreland is batting third and is swinging a hot bat with home runs in back-to-back games. His five RBIs in the last two games pushed him into a tie for the team lead with Cruz.

In addition to Adrian and Engel Beltre, the Texas Rangers will be represented in the World Baseball Classic by Elvis Andrus (Venezuela), Derek Holland (USA), Jose Felix (Mexico), Leury Garcia (Dominican Republic) and minor leaguer Gabe Suarez (Spain).

Today is the last day Andrus, Cruz, Felix, Garcia and Suarez are scheduled to be in Rangers camp. Holland will join Team USA, which is playing in nearby Phoenix, after working out in Surprise on Sunday morning.

3B Jeff Baker returned to the lineup after a day off. He has five hits in his last two games.

Texas and Arizona are scheduled to play back-to-back interleague series in May.

The Rangers' six spring losses are tied for the second-most in the majors, joining the Reds (7), Brewers (6) and Yankees (6).

LHP Michael Kirkman struck out three batters over two shutout innings on Saturday. He now has six strikeouts in four scoreless frames this spring.