Nathan, E. Beltre primed for spring action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers Joe Nathan and Engel Beltre both made their Spring Training debuts on Sunday against the Mariners.

Nathan had been healthy but did not previously pitch in a game because the Rangers simply opted to take it slow, and when the closer finally got his chance, he pitched a scoreless third inning in the game.

Beltre, who has been limited by a sore left shoulder, contributed an RBI triple after starting in right field.

Nathan posted a 2.80 ERA last year while recording 37 saves in his first season with Texas, and manager Ron Washington saw no need to get Nathan work earlier in spring camp.

"I expect Joe to be Joe," Washington said before the game. "Throw the ball over the plate, use the pitches he needs to work on, get his inning in and get out healthy."

While some players get excited to make their debuts and hit the field for the first time following a long offseason, Nathan downplayed the significance of returning.

"It's just a Spring Training game," the right-hander said before his outing. "I'll just go out there and get my work in. It's just another day to get prepared for Opening Day."

The 38-year-old Nathan may not be putting much stock in his debut, but how Beltre feels may affect his plans for the World Baseball Classic.

Originally, Beltre, who is planning to play for Spain in the Classic, expected to leave the Rangers on Sunday.

However, Beltre's shoulder has slowed his progress thus far, and the Rangers worked out an agreement with the Spanish team, allowing Beltre to report late.

Before Beltre leaves for the Classic, the Rangers want him to play in two games, one of which he will play at least five innings.

Ideally for the Spanish team, Beltre will play on Monday after Sunday's appearance because the Rangers have an off-day Tuesday.