Rangers-Mariners Preview

Adrian Beltre didn’t think he needed a stint on the disabled list, so he figures to be eager to return.

Beltre is expected back in the Texas Rangers’ lineup in Friday night’s opener of a three-game road series against the Seattle Mariners.

Texas (14-8) placed the slugger on the 15-day DL on April 13 due to a strained left quadriceps muscle. He felt the move was not necessary, although the Rangers chose to be cautious with the 35-year-old, who last played April 8.

”I did not agree with the decision. It was out of my hands,” Beltre said at the time. ”Obviously the medical staff and the front office thought it was best. … I have no say over that.”

Beltre is returning at the right time since he owns a 13-game hitting streak against the Mariners. The third baseman is batting .423 in that run against the club he played for from 2005-09.

Kevin Kouzmanoff has been outstanding filling in for Beltre, batting .362 with 10 RBIs in 13 games. Kouzmanoff, however, was held out of Wednesday’s 3-0 victory at Oakland with a sore back, and he was scheduled to be evaluated Friday at home by a specialist before the team made a roster move.

He was the hitting star with team highs of seven hits and five RBIs as Texas took three of four at home from Seattle (8-13) between April 14-17, the first series of 2014 between these division rivals. Robinson Cano led the Mariners with four RBIs in that set, but had just three hits in 17 at-bats.

Cano’s lone homer this year is against Texas, and is one of his four extra-base hits. He has a career-worst .354 slugging percentage.

The second baseman’s woes are one of several issues for the Mariners, who ended an eight-game slide with a dramatic 5-3 victory over Houston on Wednesday. Seattle was two outs from another defeat before Kyle Seager’s three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Seager, batting .179, also had a two-run homer after not going deep in his previous 43 games.

”Nobody was really stressing,” Seager said. ”We’ve been all right. We know what we have here. Obviously nobody wants to lose, but we know what we have here and we haven’t been panicking.”

The Mariners’ slide started with three defeats to the Rangers. That series also began an 8-1 run by Texas, which capped a three-game sweep Wednesday.

"We won three games here because we played very well," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers’ official website. "We’re pleased to get three games here, but we have to continue to play baseball."

Texas and Seattle will each start a left-hander coming off a poor outing who beat the other team earlier in the month.

Mariners rookie Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.22 ERA) allowed a season-high six runs over 5 2-3 innings of a 7-0 loss at Miami on Saturday. He earned his first big-league win in his previous outing, limiting the Rangers to one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-1 victory April 14.

Rangers starter Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1, 2.31) pitched 7 2-3 innings the next night to earn a 5-0 victory over the Mariners, but gave up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 16-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.