04/27/2013 4:37 PM ET
Baker back in lineup, draws start at third base
By Nate Sandell / Special to MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- After sitting out four days with a bruised right knee, utility man Jeff Baker returned to the Rangers' lineup Saturday against the Twins as Texas attempted to snag its sixth series win of the season.
With veteran Adrian Beltre in need of a break from the field and the Twins sending out starting left-hander Pedro Hernandez, Texas manager Ron Washington opted to slot the right-handed Baker in Beltre's spot at third base.
Beltre, who launched his 350th career home run in the sixth inning of the Rangers' 4-3 victory Friday, was shifted into the designated hitter spot, with Lance Berkman getting a scheduled day off.
"I wanted to get Beltre off his feet," Washington said. "He thought today was the best day to do it, so I did it. Baker will make the plays."
Baker has not played in a full game since April 19, making two pinch-hitting appearances before he was injured making a highlight-reel diving catch in the second inning Tuesday in Anaheim.
Rookie shortstop Leury Garcia was filling in on the left side of the infield in place of Elvis Andrus. It is only the second time this season Andrus has been absent from the Texas starting lineup, taking a scheduled day off like Berkman. Andrus extended his current hitting streak to six games Friday by going 2-for-5 with a double.
Beltre deflects attention after latest milestone
MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Beltre isn't ready yet to do much looking back at the accolades and milestones he has amassed in a Major League career that has spanned 16 years.
Beltre reached another significant benchmark Friday when he sent a sixth-inning pitch from Twins starter Scott Diamond hurtling an estimated 419 feet into the empty space beyond the center-field wall at Target Field for his 350th career home run.
But the 34-year-old Beltre doesn't put much stock into numbers like that, at least not right now.
"Nah, not yet," Beltre said. "When I decide to go home, I'll look at it."
It might be a few years before the three-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner decides to "go home." He doesn't seem to be anticipating retirement any time soon.
"I think he's got some years left. I think he's got five years left," Texas manager Ron Washington said Saturday when asked about Beltre's career. "He's solid, man. He's solid."
Beltre is in his third season with the Rangers. After a slow start to the year at the plate, Beltre has regained his offensive momentum in the last week. The Texas third baseman has tallied seven hits in his last six games (7-for-24, .291), two of which were home runs. He has scored at least once in all six games in that stretch.
"I've been hitting the ball hard, but this last week or so I haven't been getting a lot of luck," Beltre said. "That's what I want to do. I want to keep hitting the ball hard and it'll start falling. I don't want to change anything right now."
With Lance Berkman scheduled for a day off, Washington slid Beltre into the designated hitter spot for the Rangers' third game of four-game with the Twins on Saturday.
Rangers hope to rest Nathan, Scheppers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers closer Joe Nathan' status was in doubt for Saturday's matchup with the Twins.
Nathan was used in the first two games of the four-game series. Despite surrendering a three-run homer to Oswaldo Arcia on Friday, Nathan held on for saves in both outings to give Texas its 15th and 16th victories of the season.
Manager Ron Washington said Saturday morning he would "wait and see" before deciding how to manage Nathan. Washington tried to keep Nathan out of Friday's game, but brought him in when reliever Joe Ortiz ran into trouble in the ninth inning.
Washington will likely try to avoid bringing right-handed setup man Tanner Scheppers, whose ERA remained unblemished Friday after coming in to pitch the eighth inning for the second straight game. It was only Scheppers' second time throwing on back-to-back days in his two-year career.
"If we use him, I don't know if it'll be for three outs," Washington said.
Nate Sandell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.