TEX@SD: Profar blasts a grand slam to right field

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jurickson Profar is close to full strength in his right shoulder and being able to play the field again.

"I'm getting there," the Rangers second baseman said Monday morning. "This week, I don't know when, maybe today or tomorrow, I'm going to do relays. Once I do that, I'll be ready for the games."

Profar has been limited by shoulder tendinitis since the beginning of Spring Training, which has relegated him to designated hitter in the Cactus League. He would rather play second base and expects to be prepared to do that by Opening Day.

"I've been working on everything," Profar said. "I've been taking ground balls. They are still the same ground balls. And I have been working around the bag on double plays."

He has also been working on his hitting. Profar went into Monday's game against the Reds with nine hits in 29 at-bats for the spring. He was 0-for-5 against left-handers.

Profar is a naturally right-handed hitter who started to switch-hit after being signed by the Rangers in 2009. But he was better from the left side last year, hitting .258 as opposed to .188 as a right-handed hitter. That represented a dramatic switch from 2012 when he hit .328 from the right side and .264 from the left.

"The year before I was working really hard on my left-handed swing and that may be why I slipped from the right," Profar said. "This past offseason, I worked on both sides very hard. You have to work on both sides every side."

Profar has been getting more at-bats against right-handers during the games. But he has been coming out early to face left-handed pitchers during their morning live batting practice sessions.

"He has been doing a good job," manager Ron Washington said. "He has been hitting the ball well. He's young, he'll figure it out."

Harrison ready to take big step in comeback

Harrison on his plans to return from back injury

SURPRISE -- Tuesday will be another big step for Matt Harrison as he is scheduled to pitch in a B game against the Royals. It will be the first time Harrison has pitched against an opposing team since his second start of last season against the Angels on April 6.

"It's finally here," Harrison said. "Getting into a game again and getting that adrenaline rush again is exciting. It's not live BP, it's a real game and I've been waiting seven months for it now."

Harrison missed the rest of the season because of a herniated disk in his lower back, underwent surgery twice to correct the problem and also had surgery on his right-throwing shoulder before the year was out. He came to camp healthy but was set back by early back and neck stiffness and has fallen behind the rest of the rotation candidates by about 7-10 days.

"I know Harry is anxious to get out there," manager Ron Washington said. "I just hope he controls his emotions. It will be a lot different with no screens or cages. He's facing true hitters. These are Major League hitters."

Right-handers Shawn Tolleson and Miles Mikolas will also pitch in the B game. They have been limited for the past two weeks because of arm troubles but should be ready to face hitters. Tolleson had a sore shoulder and Mikolas had a sore elbow but both say the problem has been addressed.

"It feels great," Mikolas said. "I'm ready to get in a game, get my work in and make a good impression."

Mikolas was acquired from the Pirates on the offseason for first baseman Chris McGuinness. The deal came just over a month after the Pirates acquired Mikolas from the Padres in a trade. Mikolas, who features a 93-mph fastball and a curve as his secondary pitch, was 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 25 games for the Padres in 2012. He spent almost all of 2013 in Triple A and had 26 saves for Tucson.

Tolleson was claimed off waivers from the Dodgers. He was 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 40 games for the Dodgers in 2012 before missing all of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back. He went through the same recovery process as Harrison.

Saunders, Hanson face White Sox

Saunders, Daniels discuss Saunders' new one-year deal

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Joe Saunders and right-hander Tommy Hanson, both competing for a spot in the rotation, will be on the mound Tuesday when the Rangers face the White Sox in Glendale.

They aren't the only candidates competing for a spot at the back end of the rotation but they are two veteran pitchers acquired over the past four weeks so it gives the game an aura of head-to-head competition.

"I just view it as I have to go out and pitch well," said Hanson, who was signed as a free agent just before the start of Spring Training. "I'm not viewing it any other way."

Hanson's last outing was against the White Sox last Wednesday when he allowed two runs on five hits in three innings. He walked none and struck out three. Saunders, who signed with the Rangers last Wednesday, will be pitching in a Cactus League game for the first time. He had two scoreless innings in a B game last Friday.

"You always want to give a good impression," Saunders said. "They signed me, my job is to go out and perform and do my job to the best of my ability."

MLBPA leader Clark meets with the Rangers

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark on Hot Stove

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Former Tigers first baseman Tony Clark led a contingent of union officials who were in camp on Monday to meet with Rangers players. Clark took over as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association after Michael Weiner passed away in the offseason. He has surrounded himself with a formidable group of ex-players including Dave Winfield, Bobby Bonilla, Jeffrey Hammonds, Rick Helling and Bob Tewksbury.

The 90-minute meeting touched on multiple subjects, including instant replay and an increase in the frequency of drug testing. But most important was Clark just getting acquainted with his nw constituents.

"He just wanted to go over his role and what he's doing," said pitcher Derek Holland, who is the Rangers player representative. "There are a lot new faces and it's cool to see the players who have been brought in. At times it will be stressful on Tony but he knows what he is doing. Being a player will help out. He still has to get acclimated but being with Weiner, Tony was his right-hand man so he'll be ready to go."

Winfield played from 1973-95, a span that covered some of the biggest labor showdowns in the history of the sport. Holland said part of having the former players in leadership roles was to help remind current players about the history and importance of the union.

Worth noting

• Catcher Geovany Soto is scheduled to catch a live batting practice on Tuesday and he is still planning to play in a Cactus League game as early as Saturday. He had left ankle surgery on Feb. 22.

• Outfielder Alex Rios remains day to day with a strained intercoastal muscle in his right rib cage.

• Pitcher Nate Adocok will be examined by Dr. Greg Pearl on Tuesday in Dallas. Adcock has been dealing with some numbness in his right arm and hand, and the Rangers want to see if he is dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome.

Mitch Moreland started in right field for the Rangers on Monday. It was his third start in right this spring.