Rangers eye Opening Day for Andrus' return

Beltre could miss first round of Classic with calf injury

Rangers eye Opening Day for Andrus' return

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus will not be in the lineup for the Rangers' Cactus League opener against the Royals on Saturday (2:05 p.m. CT, live via Gameday Audio on rangers.com), as he continues to recover from offseason sports hernia surgery.

The Rangers aren't sure when Andrus will be ready for a game. The goal is to have him in the lineup for Opening Day on April 3 against the Indians.

"I'm just trying to be smart about it," Andrus said.

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Andrus underwent surgery on Nov. 1 to repair the hernia, a condition that bothered him over the final 4-5 months of last season. The Rangers understood he would take it slow to start Spring Training.

"It's slow in the sense of what his workload is like, but not slow in the weight room or the training room," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We want to make sure the entire body is strong. We're listening to him and the trainers on what we should do."

Outlook: Andrus, SS, TEX

Rangers beat

• The Rangers will be missing the left side of their infield to start Cactus League play. Third baseman Adrian Beltre remains sidelined with a strained left calf muscle. It is growing increasingly doubtful that he'll be ready for the first round of the World Baseball Classic.

"We need him at third," Banister said. "The other part I respect [is] how much Adrian wants to play for his country. He has a great sense of what's in front of him in weighing our season vs. the World Baseball Classic.

"He hasn't pushed it. It's a day-to-day progression. He knows how to maintain it and monitor it."

Beltre did some light jogging on Friday and said he felt fine after.

"It was like a home run trot," Beltre said. "I'll increase it every day."

Outlook: Beltre, 3B, TEX

Shin-Soo Choo is expected to start against the Royals as the designated hitter. He will play in the outfield later in Cactus League play.

Drew Robinson started in left field in Friday's intrasquad game. He has been alternating between the outfield and infield during workouts and can play seven positions besides pitcher and catcher.

• Catcher Brett Hayes is day to day with a strained muscle in his left side.

Tyson Ross, recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, is still throwing long toss on flat ground with the goal of throwing off the mound in early-to-mid March.

Josh Hamilton, soreness in his left knee, remains inside riding the stationary bike and getting treatment.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.