Rios and Soto make smooth return to Rangers lineup

03/13/2014 11:08 PM

11/12/2014 4:15 PM

The Rangers hope Geovany Soto is their every day catcher in 2014, but until Thursday night’s spring training game, a foot injury had kept him out of action.

The same goes for outfielder Alex Rios, who played for the first time since March 4 because of a strained right intercostal.

Soto left after four innings and Rios played six. Both said they felt fine after leaving the game. At press time, the Giants were leading 4-2 in the seventh in front of 10,545 in attendance, the eighth largest crowd in Surprise Stadium history.

“I feel good,” said Soto, who grounded out in his lone at-bat. “I felt no pain, no discomfort. It’s getting in baseball shape and getting the timing back.”

Rios was 1-for-2 and reached on an infield single to short in the second. He stole second and moved to third on Soto’s groudout but was stranded when Leonys Martin popped out to end the inning.

Soto said he has plenty of time before the March 31 season opener to get ready.

“As long as you get your timing back and get enough at-bats,” he said. “We’re athletes, that’s what we do.”

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the third on Roger Kieschnick’s two-out RBI single. Martin Perez forced a groundout to strand two runners. Perez threw three innings (63 pitches), allowing a run on three hits. He walked two and had two strikeouts.

“He used all his pitches,” Soto said. “He’s working on pounding the strike zone with all his pitches. This guy has come a long way from a couple years ago.”

Shin-Soo Choo’s first homer of the spring tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the third.

Andrew Susac led off the fourth with his first home run of the spring against Michael Kirkman, who started the inning. San Francisco added two more runs in the fifth.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Soto would take a day off after the first two games back and then potentially ramp up his innings after “seeing how he recovers.”

“I didn’t feel anything,” Rios said. “I just wanted to swing at game speed to see if I could do it.”

• The Giants used replay to challenge a Rangers’ double-play in the second inning and got the out call overturned. The Rangers fielders had reached the dugout after the apparent third out and had to return to the field after the call was overturned. The next batter grounded out to short to end the inning. It took 90 seconds to overturn it but that doesn’t include pitcher Martin Perez’s warmup pitches after returning to the mound.
• In the third, Rangers manager Ron Washington challenged an out at first on a close play on Elvis Andrus’ groundout to short. The call was upheld and took 82 seconds to review.
• Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre left after the fourth inning Thursday night with tightness in his left quadriceps.

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