ARLINGTON -- On Thursday, the Rangers will welcome Adrian Beltre back into their lineup for the first time since he went on the 15-day disabled list July 23 with a strained left hamstring.
Beltre, who was in Arlington for Wednesday's game but was not activated, will start at third base on Thursday. Michael Young will return to designated hitter duties, but manager Ron Washington said he expects to use Beltre at DH more than he had before the injury just to protect the hamstring.
"Once every now and then," Washington said. "I'm going to monitor his playing at third base. I need him for the rest of this year. I would say this last month he'll probably get more DH time than he got all year. I don't know how many games that's going to be, but you'll probably see him at DH a little bit more."
While Beltre was out, catchers Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli split duties at designated hitter while Young played third base. Once Beltre returns, Washington said it is unlikely that Napoli and Torrealba play in the same lineup.
"The only way I see that is if Napoli's playing first," Washington said.
That may be an option against left-handers to give regular first baseman Mitch Moreland a rest. He is batting .235 with a .284 slugging percentage against lefties this season.
"When I play Napoli at first base, there's a chance Mitch gets that day off," Washington said. "I've got outfielders. Of the outfielders I got, none of them will be hurt, I hope. When I play Napoli at first, it will be because a lefty is throwing and I've got other guys that play outfield."
The Rangers will also welcome utility infielder Andres Blanco on Thursday, as he will be returning from a lower back inflammation that put him on the disabled list on Aug. 9.
Players excited Treanor back with Rangers
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' clubhouse was abuzz on Wednesday afternoon as players found out they would soon be reunited with former teammate Matt Treanor.
Treanor, who caught a team-high 67 games with the Rangers last season, returned to the team when it acquired him Wednesday from the Royals for cash considerations.
"He's a great guy, he's a great clubhouse presence and obviously he's a friend of mine," C.J. Wilson said. "To see him come back to join with us for the last couple months of the season and hopefully go to the playoffs again would be pretty cool. He brings extra experience and a lot of positive vibes."
Treanor was Wilson's personal catcher down the stretch last season. He caught Wilson's final three starts, and four of the last six. Treanor also caught all four of Wilson's starts in the playoffs. Manager Ron Washington said Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli will remain his primary catchers, although Treanor might get an occasional game, particularly when Wilson is on the mound.
"I don't know. I won't make that decision right now," Washington said. "It may happen, it may not happen, but I'm not making that decision right now. We've got to get Treanor here."
Hamburger hurls scoreless frame in debut
ARLINGTON -- Reliever Mark Hamburger made his Major League debut on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless ninth in the Rangers' 4-1 loss to the Rays.
"My first pitch, my legs were shaking a tiny bit, but then after I threw that first strike, I went into the zone," Hamburger said.
Hamburger, who was signed during an open tryout by the Twins at the Metrodome in 2007, went 0-2 to both Desmond Jennings and John Jaso and threw 11 of his 15 pitches for strikes.
When Alexi Ogando was taken out after 2 2/3 frames, it looked like many relievers would get a turn on the mound. Hamburger admitted as the innings dwindled, he started to doubt whether Wednesday was going to be his debut.
"I had that little gut feeling," Hamburger said. "Every time they called names, I wasn't called, so I was like, 'Oh, OK, not this time,' but then finally when they did, I was already up on the mound, so I was glad to get in there."
Harrison to start Sunday against Red Sox
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington reaffirmed that Matt Harrison will start Sunday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Harrison, who was skipped on Tuesday in order to give him a rest, sat on the bench as Scott Feldman pitched six shutout innings vs. the Rays. Feldman silenced Tampa Bay's bats after it had hit 10 home runs in three games against the Blue Jays.
While Feldman looked impressive, Washington said there is no set date for him to make another start. But it seems likely he will get at least one more start in the final 26 games.
"I don't have a plan, but we know he's at least capable of doing it," Washington said.
The team is monitoring the starts of Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando to ensure they are healthy and effective, as both have already pitched career highs in innings.
Gonzalez wishes he was better in Baltimore
ARLINGTON -- Reliever Michael Gonzalez, who is a Texas native, is excited about pitching for the Rangers, but he expressed disappointment Wednesday about not being able to help the Orioles more during his two-year stay in Baltimore.
Gonzalez signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Orioles for the 2010 season, but he missed more than three months with a left shoulder injury. Overall, he was 3-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 78 games for the Orioles over two seasons.
"More than anything, it's kind of a pride thing for me," Gonzalez said. "It's understanding and knowing what you're capable of doing, and that's being able to go out there and show what's what, especially when you hear people talk about the beast of the East.
"It's one of those things where you know if you're healthy, you can go out there and get it done. I think that was the most frustrating for me. It was that I was obviously brought here to help the team win in those types of situations, and not being able to do that was tough for me."
Gonzalez was born in Robstown, grew up and played high school baseball in the Houston area and pitched one season at San Jacinto College before being drafted by the Pirates in 1997.
"I'm excited, of course," Gonzalez said. "Obviously I'm leaving great teammates. I think we had pretty much a good chemistry going here toward the end. It felt good, but it's one of those things where I'm going to go to Texas and see what these guys are about over there. If they're anything like Tommy [Hunter], I'm going to be all right."
Postseason roster decisions will be tough
ARLINGTON -- Both reliever Michael Gonzalez and catcher Matt Treanor will be eligible for the playoffs. They won't join the Rangers until Thursday, but they were acquired before Wednesday's waiver deadline, so that makes them eligible for the club's postseason roster.
The Rangers will have some tough decisions for that roster if they do make the playoffs, especially when it comes to pitching. They have 13 pitchers on their active roster, plus Gonzalez on his way and Darren O'Day on the 15-day disabled list.
The Rangers will likely go with an 11-man pitching staff in the playoffs, because they will need only four starting pitchers. That means one of the starters will likely join the bullpen. Derek Holland pitched out of the bullpen during the playoffs last season.
That means the Rangers would be choosing six relievers out of a group of 10 that consists of closer Neftali Feliz, right-handers Koji Uehara, Mike Adams, Mark Lowe and Yoshinori Tateyama, left-handers Darren Oliver and Gonzalez, long relievers Scott Feldman and Mark Hamburger, and O'Day.
An 11-man pitching staff would mean 14 position players. Right now, the Rangers have at least 16 position players eligible for postseason. They will likely take only one utility infielder: either Andres Blanco or Omar Quintanilla. The other big decision will likely be if they take a third catcher or an extra outfielder.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.