ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre took regular batting practice with his teammates before Thursday's game with the Red Sox. His last two swings produced blasts that sailed deep into the left-field seats.

Beltre, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, is moving closer to a medical rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues. He is hoping it will be this weekend, but the Rangers' medical staff still hasn't signed off on it.

Beltre can hit, take ground balls and throw, but he still has to run the bases full speed and do all that it entails before the Rangers clear him for assignment.

"He needs to get to the point where he can manage the hamstring," manager Ron Washington said. "If you're waiting for it to be completely 100 percent, we'll be in Spring Training. He's just got to get to the point where it needs to be managed. We need Adrian, we just have to make sure."

As innings pile up, Rangers keep watchful eye

ARLINGTON -- Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland head into unknown territory as far as innings pitched, and there are concerns how they're handling the workload in their first full seasons as starters.

The Rangers have four veteran pitchers on their staff who have been in that position, and all four were all able to make the transition without buckling under from the increased workload. Most notable was C.J. Wilson, who went from 73 innings as a reliever in 2009 to 204 last season as a 15-game winner.

"I've been around and that helped me, I know how long the season is," Wilson said. "Mechanically, you really have to be at the top of your game. If your mechanics are intact and you're hitting your spots, it doesn't matter if your velocity is low.

"It's not going to help if you reach back and try to throw harder if you throw it down the middle. [It's] better to go with your offspeed stuff and hit your spots. You've got to be a pitcher; you can't out-throw people right now. It only takes one swing of the bat to ruin your night, so you can't take your focus off for one pitch."

Darren Oliver made the same journey as Wilson did, throwing 49 innings as a reliever in 1995 and 173 over 30 starts as a 14-game winner for a division championship team in '96.

"August is always tough. You just have to find a way," Oliver said. "You're going to go out there not feeling the way you did in April and May, so you have to do different things. Maybe pitch backwards, find different ways to get people out, or alter the things you do between starts and not throw as much on the side. The only way to do it though is to go through it. I can talk to people until I'm blue in the face, but the only way to go through it is by trial and error. The good ones figure it out."

Scott Feldman was a middle reliever from 2005-07 and then went to the rotation in '08. He pitched 151 innings that season and then 189 in '09 while winning 17 games.

"Just about everybody I've seen here has a good work ethic," Feldman said. "You just do your best to stay fresh, get your rest and get your work in between starts. I think everybody is still doing that. In '08, my velocity dropped off at the end of the year, and in '09, I felt fine the whole time through."

Colby Lewis had been a starter in Japan, so his transition last year wasn't as dramatic. But he went from 176 innings in Japan to 201 with the Rangers in the regular season, and he continued to stay strong in the playoffs. He was 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four playoff starts.

"Last year, I felt great," Lewis said. "I feel like when it gets crunch time, your adrenaline takes over. You feel run down a little bit and then your adrenaline kicks in. It's all or nothing. When it comes down to close games, your adrenaline takes over and you're not concerned about how you feel."

Off-day might lead to rotation shuffle for Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington said club officials will meet on Sunday and discuss whether they want to use Monday's off-day to alter their rotation. The Rangers normally use an off-day to give their starters an extra day of rest.

The Rangers are mulling other options. They could use the off-day to skip somebody or push somebody back in the rotation. Matt Harrison could be the one this time around. He pitched on Wednesday, and his turn would fall on the off-day. He could be pushed back as far as Sept. 3 if the Rangers desired.

"We're talking about a lot of things, but we haven't come up with a plan yet," Washington said.

The Rangers have four off-days between now and the end of the season. Washington said they have also discussed the possibility of using a sixth "spot starter" to give people extra rest, but he doesn't want his pitchers talking about "fatigue" or being tired.

"Everybody is playing with something at this time of the year," Washington said. "Everybody has some kind of fatigue. It's not something to talk about. If it becomes part of your mindset, then you're in trouble."

Rangers waiting on Angels' weekend rotation

ARLINGTON -- The Angels still have not made an official decision on their rotation for the three-game series with the Rangers. Dan Haren starts on Friday night, but the club is undecided on Saturday and Sunday.

The question is if manager Mike Scioscia will pitch Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on Saturday and Sunday with three days' rest. Santana pitched Tuesday against the White Sox, and Weaver pitched Wednesday.

If they go on three days' rest, Santana would pitch Saturday and Weaver would pitch Sunday. Neither has pitched on three days' rest before, but Scioscia said it would be a one-time move. If not, Santana would pitch Sunday and Weaver would miss the series. Joel Pineiro would likely start on Saturday.

"I'm not really worried about what they're doing with their rotation," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I say it over and over again, we're not worried about the Angels. We're worried about ourselves. We can't control anything they do. If we want to bring a guy back on two days' rest or three days' rest or five days' rest, I don't care."

Worth noting

• The Rangers, going into Thursday's game, have gone five games without an error but have only one win to show for it.

• Michael Young started at designated hitter on Thursday. Manager Ron Washington wanted to give him a night off from defense, and it was his first start at DH since Aug. 4.

• Washington said there is still a possibility that the Rangers could make a roster move before their three-game series with the Angels that starts Friday. Bringing back a third catcher is a possibility. Right now, the Rangers are going with an extra reliever, and Washington is not eager to face the Angels with a three-man bench.