Tablet Sports

Rangers Spring Break: Reliever Soria admired Braves greats, Rivera

Growing up Brave

Joakim Soria’s youth-league team was called the Braves, so he naturally became attached to the big-league team.

It’s no surprise that two of Soria’s pitching idols were longtime Braves starters Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. He also looked up to a fellow closer, the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera.

Here’s what Soria liked about all three:

Maddux: “Everything he did. His command, the way he pitched. He was great.”

Smoltz: “He had electric stuff. He was a great pitcher and reminded me of Maddux a lot.”

Rivera: “When I was growing up, I saw him win the World Series one year and close out the last game. He came in during tough situations and I loved how he handled himself on the mound. The success he had every season was unbelievable.”

He said it

“That’s never going to be OK with me. Never.” — Adrian Beltre on if he’s gotten used to teammates touching his head after home runs

Telling numbers

.157 Left-handed batters’ average against Neal Cotts last season. That was the 10th-best in the majors for pitchers who faced at least 100 batters.

.203 Opponents’ batting average against Jason Frasor last season, his career-low.

Injury update

RHP Matt Harrison (lower back stiffness): Scheduled to throw live batting practice Friday.

OF Engel Beltre (shin splints): Scratched from Thursday’s lineup as his shin splints have not entirely dissipated. He is day-to-day.

OF Alex Rios (right oblique strain): Did not play Thursday and is day-to-day.

RHP Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis): Throwing out to 60 feet.

RHP Miles Mikolas (elbow): Scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.

RHP Shawn Tolleson (Shoulder): Scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.

INF Jurickson Profar (right shoulder tendinitis): Throwing from 90 feet and to bases. Expected to play in mid-March.

C Geovany Soto (foot surgery): Scheduled to go through batting practice for the first time Friday. March 15 remains the target date to return to game action.

Word from Wash

“I think believing back in my generation was up to you. It wasn’t up to the manager and it wasn’t up to the general manager. It was up to you. If you didn’t believe and you didn’t perform, you were gone. I think that’s the difference right there.” — Rangers manager Ron Washington on today’s players