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Berkman could be game-ready by this weekend


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman could be ready to play in a game by the end of the week. Wednesday is a possibility, but Thursday or Friday is more realistic.

Berkman has not played in a game because of a strained right calf muscle, but he has been able to run the bases and take ground balls without any issues lately. The Rangers have been cautious with both Berkman and Adrian Beltre because of the cold weather. The veterans had no trouble running the bases on Monday.

"This is not a big deal at all," Berkman said.

Outfielder Engel Beltre may have the more significant injury. He has some soreness in the back of his left shoulder, and it could keep him from playing for Spain in the World Baseball Classic. The Rangers do not believe the injury is serious, but it's still something they are watching. Beltre is supposed to join Spain this weekend.

"We feel and Spain feels he would have to get back to game speed," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "There would be some reluctance to put him in a game for nine innings if he's not ready."

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