SURPRISE, Ariz. — — Adrian Beltre only needs 10-14 games to get ready for the regular season. Joe Nathan is good to go after 10-13 appearances. Lance Berkman would like a full spring training, but feels it’s a week or two too long to start with.So it’s no surprise that those three veterans are taking it slow in the early parts of the Texas Rangers’ spring camp. Beltre and Berkman are dealing with minor right-calf issues, while Nathan simply had his regimen pushed back a week.“We’re down here a long time and they know what they need, and we certainly don’t want to overplay them,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’re going to give them their time.”All three of them are expected to begin playing in Cactus League games later next week.Berkman is ahead of Beltre in terms of returning to game action. He ran the bases Saturday and could be cleared to play as early as today. But he’s not counting on it.“I’d like to play [today], but I doubt they’d let me do that,” said Berkman, who is also rehabbing from right knee surgery. “Until we get into the first week or two of March, I wouldn’t consider it lost time.”Berkman went on to say that he had his best season after a limited spring in 2006 when he set career highs in home runs (45) and RBIs (136).For Beltre, the games played aren’t that big of a deal. He played in 19 games last spring, batting .288 with 13 RBIs in 52 at-bats.“It depends on how my swing feels,” he said. “If you’re physically ready, you shouldn’t need to turn a switch when Opening Day comes along.”Said Nathan: “We’ve been through enough spring trainings that we know at least a time frame to get ourselves ready.”Nathan said he felt good Saturday, the day after throwing a live batting practice. He is scheduled to make his first appearance on March 3 against Seattle.At-bats neededOne of the early spring storylines has been whether Jurickson Profar and/or Mike Olt could make the team as utility players. Team president and CEO Nolan Ryan said that Profar would need about 350 at-bats to justify being on the big-league team.Manager Ron Washington said Olt would need a similar number of at-bats in order to skip an everyday job at Triple A Round Rock. But Washington warned that things could change during the course of spring training.“We just need to let them play down here and see what happens,” Washington said. “The obvious thing is both of these guys played Double A.”Washington left that last comment open for interpretation, but it’s clear that Profar and Olt are expected to start the season at Triple A Round Rock for now.Shaky startIt didn’t take long for Tanner Scheppers to assess his spring so far.“Honestly, I feel like I’ve thrown it like crap,” Scheppers said. “Thank God it’s February. There’s a lot more I need to work on. The way I pitched [Friday] is not what I want to show and not what I feel what I am. I don’t think I hit my spot one time.”Scheppers struggled in his first Cactus League appearance, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and one strikeout over an inning.Scheppers is dealing with a left hamstring strain, but didn’t use that as an excuse for his poor outing. His mechanics need work and his velocity isn’t close to where it generally is during the regular season.Scheppers, who can get it up to 100 mph, saw an interesting number on the radar Friday.“I think I saw 89,” Scheppers said. “I haven’t seen something on that lower end in a while. But my body feels good, arm feels good and it’s still early. I’ve just got to get into a good rhythm.”Briefly• Tanner Scheppers (left hamstring soreness), Engel Beltre (soreness in left rhomboid) and Kyle McClellan (general soreness) joined the injury report Saturday. None of the injuries are considered serious, and McClellan is scheduled to throw a bullpen today.• The second wave of minor league prospects arrived at camp Saturday. Among the players included were last year’s first-round pick Lewis Brinson and Latin American outfield prospects Jairo Beras and Nomar Mazara.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison