ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman is close to returning from the injured list after being sidelined for two weeks with a strained right hamstring.
Guzman is sprinting at 90 percent and able to run in an arc in the outfield without any issues. He is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday, with the hope of being able to go full speed in all activities.
“We just want to make sure, but the way he feels, he should be fine,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “I saw him in batting practice. He was hitting the ball in the seats in right and on the grass in center. It’s not getting in the way of his swing.”
If Guzman gets cleared on Monday, he will likely spend two days working out with the Rangers in Oakland. After that, he would likely go on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville next weekend in Iowa.
Second baseman Rougned Odor isn’t far behind Guzman. He is on the injured list with a sprained right knee and went through a full workout on Tuesday with no restraints.
“He had been a little bit tentative, but today, he was moving around a little bit and felt great,” Woodward said. “Sometime in the next 10 days, we should be getting both guys back.”
Guzman, Andrus help PLAY Campaign
Guzman was working with kids ages 9-14 in the batting cage on Saturday morning.
“I was showing them how to hit home runs and do bat flips,” Guzman said.
He was kidding, but he and Elvis Andrus also enjoyed being part of the 2019 National PLAY Campaign stop at Globe Life Park. Approximately 70 children were there, hearing from Guzman, Andrus, Rangers trainers Matt Lucero and Jacob Newburn and team nutritionist Stephanie Fernandes.
The campers moved through different stations to hear about hitting, strength, conditioning, agility and general education about living a healthy lifestyle. Andrus, an advisor to the Taylor Hooten Foundation, spoke about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.
“It’s a pretty serious subject, especially for young children who don’t have the right information,” Andrus said. “That’s why you end up doing it, you don’t know the consequences. That’s why I love that organization and what they are doing, and the message they are trying to send.”
Bat flips? Woodward likes passion, emotion
Bat flipping seems to bother some people in baseball, but Woodward is not as adamantly opposed to it as others. Woodward said watching the World Baseball Classic changed his attitude on much of that.
“I started understanding their cultures and why they did what they did,” Woodward said. “It wasn’t because they were disrespecting the game. [Yasiel] Puig wasn’t doing it became he was disrespecting the game. He did it because he lived in a communist society [Cuba] that held him down, and so when he got on the field, he could be free.
“If I lived in that society, I would be bat flipping, too. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes your mentality.”
Woodward also said it’s important for his players' personalities to come out on the field.
“They need to let their ability and who they are shine,” Woodward said. “That’s the only way they are going to feel comfortable on the baseball field. We have one of the most diverse teams in baseball, and I love that. I love the different backgrounds our guys come from.
“I think it’s great for baseball, it’s the great thing about the sport. In a polarizing society, we have a very diverse group that can break through that nonsense and can say, 'Hey, it’s OK to be from all parts of the world and compete together.'”
• Right-hander Kyle Dowdy pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief on Friday night. He allowed an RBI double when he first entered the game, but Woodward said it was because he was tipping his pitches. The Rangers corrected it immediately.
“He was wiggling his fingers in his glove ... clear as day,” Woodward said.
• The Rangers will face three right-handed starters during their series in Oakland beginning on Monday: Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Aaron Brooks.
• Left-hander Brett Martin needed only nine pitches in a scoreless inning in his Major League debut on Friday night. The last Rangers pitcher to throw fewer pitches for a scoreless inning in his Major League debut was Alex Claudio on Aug. 13, 2014, against the Rays.