Rangers’ Soria eager to face major leaguers

ARLINGTON, Texas — Joakim Soria will make his Texas Rangers debut in Arlington Friday.

Of course Soria will only be facing hitters in a batting practice session, but it’s a big step towards making his real debut for the Rangers.

Soria, who has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and a pectoral strain in Arizona, is happy to have the change of scenery.

“I can’t wait,” said Soria. “I’ve been working hard in Arizona. I’m really happy to get out here and be around these guys and be in his major league club and start living this life again. Getting this atmosphere and starting to get excited about games is really good for me.”

Soria will throw two or three batting practice sessions while the team continues its homestand. He hopes to go out on a rehab assignment when the team starts a road trip June 21.

Soria hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since 2011 after having elbow surgery last April. He’s been working hard in Arizona throwing to batters in extended spring training. But he knows facing big leaguers in batting practice will be a better test of where he’s at in his bid to return.

“These guys can look at the ball and they have a plan at home plate,” Soria said. “They can tell me where I am and I can see if they’re comfortable hitting against me or my pitches are sharp enough to get those guys out. I think it’s a very good test for me.”

One of the pitchers he could see Friday in batting practice is Mitch Moreland. Moreland, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, took batting practice Wednesday. He still needs to run the bases before he’s cleared to begin a rehab assignment. That could come next week, which would have Moreland ready to return to the team when they open their series in St. Louis June 21.