SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Catcher Geovany Soto has caught live batting practice and is now running the bases at approximately 50 percent speed. Once he can do that at full speed without any problems, Soto should be ready to return to the lineup.
The Rangers' projected Opening Day catcher has been sidelined since Feb. 22 after undergoing surgery to remove a bone from his left ankle. He is hoping to return to the lineup by Saturday at the earliest.
"I feel great," Soto said. "There have been no issues. It has come around a lot better than I thought. I'm really pleased with the way things have come around. I'm almost there. I'm anxious to get back out there."
The Rangers signed Soto in the offseason with the idea he would be their No. 1 catcher. The surgery hasn't changed that. If Soto can get back on the field by Saturday, he would still have two weeks to get ready for Opening Day. If he needs extra at-bats, he can get them in Minor League games. Right now, the Rangers want to make sure he can run the bases without a problem and squat behind the plate for a durable length of time.
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.