Berkman ready for first Cactus League action

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman will be in the lineup for the first time this spring when the Rangers host the Indians on Thursday in Surprise.

Berkman has not yet played in a Cactus League game because of a strained right calf muscle. He also came into camp still in the rehabilitation process after undergoing surgery to repair torn cartilage on his right knee on Sept. 11.

The calf injury was minor, and Berkman continues to build strength in his knee. With 32 games left in Spring Training, he has plenty of time to get ready for the season.

"You need some at-bats to get a gauge on where you are with your swing, so I'll find out tomorrow where I am as far as timing and bat speed," Berkman said.

Adrian Beltre remains sidelined with a strained right calf muscle, but the Rangers don't have a target for his first Cactus League game. He is taking batting practice, running the bases and taking ground balls but seems in no hurry to get in the lineup. One problem is that the weather remains cold in the morning and cool in the afternoon. Game-time temperature for Wednesday's game against the White Sox was 63 degrees.

"We've still been able to get our work in," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not so much the cold as the wind."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for 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.