03/02/12 6:49 PM EST
Torrealba, Hawpe still ailing
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
"He was feeling better today than he was yesterday," manager Ron Washington said.
First baseman Brad Hawpe is also missing in action. He hasn't been able to play in the intrasquad games because of soreness in his right hamstring. He is expected to be down for 2-3 more days.
Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel is scheduled to face hitters in live batting practice on Saturday. He hasn't been able to pitch in the intrasquad games because of some stiffness in his left elbow, but if all goes well on Saturday he should be able to pitch in early Cactus League games.
Beimel, with 567 career relief appearances, remains one of the top candidates to win a spot in the bullpen as a left-handed relief candidate.
Kelvin de la Cruz, another left-handed bullpen candidate, has had some stiffness in his elbow but felt good enough to pitch a scoreless inning in the intrasquad game.
Beltre, Cruz to take it easy on basepaths
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre and right fielder Nelson Cruz were in the lineup for the second intrasquad game on Friday. They can hit and they can play defense, but the Rangers just want them to be careful running the bases.
Both will not be going full speed on the bases any time soon. Cruz is of special concern to the Rangers because of his history of leg injuries, and manager Ron Washington said he may have to give his right fielder more days off this season. Cruz has been on the disabled list six times in the last three years because of leg injuries.
"We have to find a way to keep his legs strong," Washington said. "He may not like it but we may have to give him some days off or more time at DH. He won't like that, but we have to watch it with him."
Beltre has never had any serious problems with leg injuries until last year. He missed the first half of Spring Training with a calf injury and five weeks in the second half because of a strained left hamstring.
So he is being brought along slowly with his running in camp.
"When the season starts, let it go," Washington said. "But this is Spring Training. You're just trying to get your work in and get ready. It's not only the number of games he's played but the way he plays. The guy plays hard.
"By the time we get to the final two weeks of Spring Training, they'll have enough strength in their legs and they'll be on the program, and they can lock it in."
Catcher Mike Napoli was in the lineup on Friday but at designated hitter. He caught three innings without any problems with his left ankle on Thursday. He sprained it during the World Series and is not quite at full strength, so the Rangers want him to be careful on the bases.
Cotts impresses in intrasquad game
The Rangers had a Minor League pitcher crash their intrasquad game. Left-handed setup man Neal Cotts may be crashing more than just intrasquad games before Spring Training is over.
Cotts, who was signed two weeks ago to a Minor League contract, is not officially in big league camp. He hasn't pitched in the Majors in two years and has been working out with the early Minor Leaguers.
The Rangers included him in their intrasquad game and he pitched a scoreless inning. He allowed two singles and struck out one. He threw 13 pitches, eight for strikes.
"I like what I've seen," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "We'll see him again. There is no secret we're looking for left-handed help. This might be lightning in a bottle."
Cotts pitched in 284 games as a left-handed reliever for the White Sox and Cubs in 2003-09 but missed last season because of elbow and hip injuries. His best year was with the White Sox in 2005 when he was 4-0 with a 1.94 ERA.
"I liked what I saw too," manager Ron Washington said. "The ball came out well. It's a matter of getting the rust off. He looks strong."
Rangers throwing strikes
The Rangers ended up playing 16 innings over two intrasquad games. That comes out to an inning of work for 32 different pitchers.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux was thrilled that the Rangers walked just five batters in two days of work. They had just two walks by 17 pitchers on Friday.
"I love the way we're attacking the zone," Maddux said.
The most impressive pitch of the day was the full-count slider that Neftali Feliz threw to strike out Connor Jackson in his one scoreless inning of work.
"The guy has an explosive fastball, but he threw a 3-2 slider and struck him out," Maddux said. "He threw a couple of changeups and a cutter. I saw pitches and he used them. He's pitching to get guys out. Trust your stuff, don't get penned into just one pitch. Use them all."
The "home" team won 2-1 by scoring two runs in the seventh off of rookie right-hander Neil Ramirez. He faced six hitters and allowed three singles and a double.
Borbon, Martin go the distance
For the second straight day, Julio Borbon and Leonys Martin were the only two players to play the entire intrasquad game. They both had four at-bats for the visiting team. Martin played four innings in center and then switched with Borbon, who began the game as the designated hitter.
Borbon had two more hits and was 4-for-8. He was thrown out trying to steal by catcher Chris Robinson on Friday. Martin was 1-for-4 and dropped a fly ball in center field.
Borbon and Martin are competing with Craig Gentry for the starting center field job, and there are other clubs who are looking for help at that position. The Nationals and the Indians, in particular, are looking for center field help.
Rangers officials say they haven't had any discussions with other teams at this point but "wouldn't be surprised" if they got calls before the end of spring. But Rangers officials stress they have to "make our own decision" on center field before they start talking with other clubs.
The Rangers have added three B games against the Royals for the morning of March 5, 8 and 11. B games are played under controlled conditions on the back fields. Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez are scheduled to pitch on Monday.
Colby Lewis, Scott Feldman and Michael Kirkman are scheduled to pitch against the Royals on Sunday. Also scheduled to pitch are Robbie Ross, Sean Green and Miguel De Los Santos.
Monday's pitchers against the Royals include Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. The Royals will start former Ranger Luis Mendoza on Sunday and Bruce Chen on Monday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.