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February 24, 2013

Beltre, Berkman in no hurry

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre made a throw across the diamond during a fielding drill for the Texas Rangers that was high and beyond the reach of Lance Berkman.

“I thought you were taller. Sorry,” Beltre shouted out with a smile to the first baseman.

The veteran Rangers, who both have dealt with right calf issues early in an extended spring training, seemed at ease and with no problems during the team workout on a back field Saturday morning. They aren’t playing in spring training games yet, but there really isn’t any reason to hurry them with five weeks to go before the regular season opener.

A day earlier, 38-year-old closer Joe Nathan threw live batting practice for the first time, a week after the rest of the pitchers in camp. He has no physical issues, and instead is staying on his normal spring pace.

“Absolutely, there’s no sense in changing something we’re doing just because there’s a tournament,” Nathan said.

“They know exactly what they need to get ready, and we’re going to give them that time,” manager Ron Washington said.

With the World Baseball Classic this spring, and the March 31 opener at Houston, the Rangers and other teams started playing spring training games earlier than ever. Texas has already played two of its 38 scheduled spring training games.

Beltre, who is skipping the first round of the WBC for the Dominican Republic, said he doesn’t need many games to get ready for the season.

“(The Rangers) want me to take it slow. I think we’re looking at maybe the end of next week to make sure everything is OK,” said Beltre, going into the third season of his five-year deal with Texas. “We’re not trying to push anything yet, no reason for it now.”

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