SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tanner Scheppers needs a strong Spring Training performance in order to win a job in the Rangers' bullpen, but his bid has been stalled by a strained left hamstring. Scheppers, who knows he's not off to a good start, remains day to day.
"It's coming along, but we want to make sure we get it right," Scheppers said. "We don't want to push it in February, so we're taking an extra couple days."
Scheppers has pitched in one intrasquad game and one Cactus League game, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and a strikeout.
"Personally, I don't think I've thrown the ball well at all, but again, Spring Training started early, so we have a little more time," Scheppers said. "It's nothing to worry about."
Scheppers pitched in 39 games for the Rangers last season, posting a 4.45 ERA while averaging 13.1 hits, 2.5 walks and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings. The number of hits per nine innings was the third highest among American League pitchers with at least 30 innings.
Berkman may make Rangers debut Thursday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman, who has been sidelined with a strained right calf muscle, could be the Rangers' designated hitter on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. CT against the Indians in Surprise. Adrian Beltre, who also has a strained right calf, could follow him into the lineup shortly thereafter.
Right now, the most interesting injury to watch is that of outfielder Engel Beltre. He is sidelined with soreness in his left shoulder, his throwing arm, and it may keep him out of the World Baseball Classic. He is supposed to join Team Spain on March 3.
Engel's shoulder isn't progressing as well as expected, and the Rangers are going to have him examined by a local orthopedist. How much Beltre progresses in the next few days will determine if he can suit up for Spain.
"If I feel 100 percent, I'm going to go," the outfielder said. "It all depends on how the shoulder feels."
Pierzynski shrugs off reunion with White Sox
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski was in the lineup on Tuesday against his former team, facing the White Sox at Surprise Stadium. Pierzynski spent eight seasons with Chicago before signing with Texas in the offseason, but he didn't see the reunion as being a big deal.
"Not really. ... I guess. ... I don't know. It's just a Spring Training game," Pierzynski said. "I'm sure it will be different when we go to Chicago and I'm on the visiting side. This is Spring Training; this is not a big deal."
The Rangers play the White Sox on Wednesday at 2:05 p.m. CT in Glendale, but Pierzynski is not expected to make the trip. The teams don't face each other again until March 26 in Surprise. Their regular-season meetings are April 30-May 2 in Arlington and Aug. 23-25 in Chicago.
Pierzynski was behind the plate on Tuesday with Yu Darvish on the mound. Although manager Ron Washington likes the way Geovany Soto works with Darvish, he wants Pierzynski to catch him as well, especially in Spring Training.
"He has to," Washington said. "The next time Darvish pitches, you may see Soto. But A.J. has to. He has to see his stuff, how it moves and what his best pitches are. A.J. is our everyday guy."
Lewis is ready to take the mound
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis is scheduled to throw off the mound on Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm on July 27. Lewis threw off the lower half of the mound on Monday without problems and didn't have any residual soreness on Tuesday.
Lewis is planning to throw long-toss on Wednesday and then move to the mound on Friday. It will be a significant step in the rehabilitation process, but Lewis still wants to be careful. Lewis said he is feeling great but doesn't want to be lured into a false sense of security and have a setback by overthrowing.
"I feel too good, you know what I mean?" Lewis said. "I don't want to continue to push and push and push and have something bad happen. I want to be semi-cautious about it. The way I feel now, I don't want it to go away."
The Rangers have been hoping Lewis would be ready to return by June 1. Now they are growing cautiously optimistic it could be sooner.
The Rangers are trying to maintain the same caution with Joakim Soria, who had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last April 3. The Rangers are expecting him back in May, but he is throwing off a mound and those who have been watching him are getting excited by what they are seeing.
While Lewis continues his rehabilitation, the fifth-starter competition goes on in camp but Kyle McClellan remains sidelined with soreness in the muscles behind his right shoulder. McClellan, who has not yet pitched in a Cactus League game, is scheduled to throw long-toss on Wednesday.
• Pitcher Wilmer Font (shoulder inflammation) remains limited to long-toss throwing.
• Third-base coach Gary Pettis gave a lecture on baserunning to the entire team on Tuesday morning. The Rangers want to be a better on the basepaths this season, and being more aggressive will help them achieve that. But Pettis also talked about being smarter, understanding where the fielders are positioned, getting good leads and good reads off the bat.
• Alexi Ogando starts for the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday against the White Sox. Derek Holland starts at 2:05 p.m. CT on Thursday against the Indians, and that will be his last outing before joining Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. Randy Wells, who threw live batting practice on Tuesday, pitches at 2:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the Mariners.
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.