6/29/2013 7:56 P.M. ET
Pitching trio taking next steps toward return to action
By Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Joakim Soria, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has a chance to come off the disabled list before the All-Star break. Rangers manager Ron Washington said the Rangers could call Soria up during their seven-game road trip to Baltimore and Detroit before the break.
Soria is scheduled to pitch in consecutive games for Triple-A Round Rock starting Sunday. He threw a shutout inning Friday, allowing one hit on 17 pitches. It's the only hit Soria has allowed in four rehab outings. Soria threw 13 strikes and struck out two in Friday's appearance.
Colby Lewis (right flexor pronator surgery) and Alexi Ogando (right biceps tendinitis) will both throw bullpen sessions on Sunday. Washington said both of their bullpen sessions went well Friday. Lewis will throw about 25 pitches, while Ogando will throw about 50 pitches. Ogando isn't likely to return before the All-Star break. Lewis aims to return by the end of July barring any setbacks.
Berkman sits out second straight game
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't even check on Lance Berkman before he filled out his lineup card on Saturday. Berkman sat out his second straight game with a sore right knee, while Ian Kinsler was the club's designated hitter and Jurickson Profar started at second base.
"[Berkman] can't be sore and come in here tomorrow ready to play," Washington said. "I haven't talked to the doctors yet. He's not going to have that miraculous recovery. Tomorrow may be a different story.
Berkman injured the knee as he slipped exiting the team plane Thursday. David Murphy was also out of the lineup with Engel Beltre in center and Leonys Martin in left. Washington said he kept Sunday's day game in mind and plans to give someone the day off.
Washington could also give A.J. Pierzynski the day off Sunday. Pierzynski didn't play in Thursday's day game against the Yankees after playing Wednesday night. Pierzynski played Saturday, but Washington will leave it up to Pierzynski if he wants to play Sunday. The Rangers have an off-day Monday.
"If he wants to play, I'm going to play A.J. If he doesn't give me any hassle, I'm putting [Geovany] Soto in there," Washington said. "Knowing A.J., he'll probably want to play tomorrow because he wants to see what this heat is we've been talking about."
Baker, Gentry looking for breakthroughs in rehabs
ARLINGTON -- Jeff Baker has started to hit off a tee as he progresses with a right thumb injury he sustained on a celebratory high-five.
Baker was eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, but Rangers manager Ron Washington said Baker wasn't ready. Baker said he doesn't have a timeline on when he'll return.
"I just go day-by-day, but it's progressing," Baker said.
Craig Gentry said his left hand still hurts after he was hit by a pitch on June 18 against the Athletics. He was placed on the disabled list last Sunday with a non-displaced fracture in the hand.
"I still can't swing a bat," Gentry said. "It still hurts trying to grip or carry stuff."
Gentry said he hopes to start swinging sometime next week. He's eligible to return on July 6.
"In the next couple weeks, I'm hoping to make some progress here," Gentry said.
Washington credits Baker for showing him leadership
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington played just 10 games with Reds manager Dusty Baker, but he credits Baker for pushing him to become a clubhouse leader as a player.
"I made sure everything went right in the clubhouse," Washington said. "I learned that all from Dusty Baker."
Washington made his Major League debut with the 1977 Dodgers, who featured Baker and manager Tommy Lasorda. Washington played just 10 games, but he said Baker bought him his first suit and pair of shoes at the Major League level.
"I talked trash," Washington said. "It didn't matter where I was because I had confidence I could play. They liked that. They would challenge you, which Dusty did. He would yell out in the dugout for Tommy Lasorda to put me in to pinch-hit because I was talking trash. I didn't back down; I delivered.
"He taught me how to act in the clubhouse. He taught me how to be a pro. I was a pro, but I was one of those with loose lips because that's the way I was brought up. They knew I could play."
Washington went 7-for-19 in those 10 games with a stolen base and two strikeouts.
"He was my teammate and at that time, he was a little rookie," Baker said Friday. "I'm proud of what he has done. He has a very good organization that he's helping to run there. Ron is in the way. He's a friend, but we've got to beat him."
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan visited Baker before Friday's game. Baker was 6-of-42 (.143) against Ryan in his career with two home runs, three RBIs, four walks and five strikeouts. While the two don't hang out together, Baker said he liked to think Ryan paid him a visit out of mutual respect.
"I faced him many, many times," Baker said. "He threw closer than inside. Way, way inside. I was hard to hit though. We had some good battles -- the Dodgers and Astros."
• The Rangers promoted Double-A Frisco relief pitcher Wilmer Font to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. Font was 1-2 with a 1.41 ERA in 26 appearances with Frisco. He was a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities.
• Actor Matthew McConaughey was at the Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark Saturday with Nelson Cruz as part of the club's partnership with the just keep livin Foundation. The pair met with about 90 students from the program's 2013 class in a year-end celebration.
• With an 8-1 mark over their previous nine games, the Rangers wore their blue jerseys for the 10th straight game on Saturday.
• Class A Hickory catcher Jorge Alfaro is unlikely to play in the All-Star Futures Game. He was hit by a pitch Friday and sustained a small non-displaced fracture of the left fifth metacarpal. He is expected to miss several weeks.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.