NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball has asked Rangers closer Joe Nathan to contribute to a documentary on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. MLB found him more than willing to talk about baseball's all-time leading closer who is retiring at the end of the season.
"It's no secret how much I look up to him and appreciate what he's done for me in my career as far as how to handle yourself on and off the field," Nathan said. "He's only going down as the greatest closer ever, but you wouldn't know that by talking to him or how he handles himself. That's the great thing about Mariano, the respect he has for the game, his opponents and his teammates.
"He doesn't need a rah-rah, look-at-me attitude. He just wants to take the ball, get the game over as quick as possible, get his teammates off the field and do it all over again tomorrow."
Rivera, going into Tuesday, had 634 career saves, the most in Major League history. Nathan is 14th with 323. But Nathan has been successful on 90 percent of his save opportunities, the highest rate of any reliever with at least 250 opportunities. Rivera is second at 89.5 percent.
Rangers planning on having Cruz for rest of season
NEW YORK -- General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers are operating under the assumption that Nelson Cruz will be their right fielder for an extended period of time this season.
Daniels said the club has received no updates from Major League Baseball on any investigation involving Cruz's possible association with Biogenesis, the Miami clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to several prominent players. The Rangers have also not looked into any contingency plans in case Cruz were to be disciplined by the Commissioner's Office.
"I don't see how we can plan for anything other than Nellie being out there," Daniels said. "We can't go get somebody based on media reports. I don't know how else to approach it. He's performed at a high level. There's no contingency plan for your best players. That's not how it works. It's not like we have an All-Star lineup at Triple-A ready to step in."
The Rangers have been exploring the possibility of adding a right-handed bat since early in the season. They are still interested in that, and Daniels acknowledged the club could pursue starting-pitching help as well.
The Rangers currently have rookies Justin Grimm, Nick Tepesch and Martin Perez in a rotation that also includes Derek Holland and Yu Darvish. Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis remain on the disabled list. Ogando threw a bullpen session on Tuesday but is still at least a couple of weeks away from returning. The most prominent starting pitcher available is right-hander Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins.
"I don't know how much is out there as far as being real good," Daniels said. "A lot depends on how teams perform and who decides to do what. The biggest thing is we're healthy and playing well. If that continues, that will give us more guidance on what to do.
"A lot depends on Alexi and Colby. There's no team that doesn't want to bolster their rotation, but my first priority is to get my arms around those two guys and when we can expect to get them back. But we will look at the starting market and see if there is somebody out there.
"We're not in the market for just anybody. We like the guys we have out there. There is a learning curve, but they are getting better. Fortunately, our bullpen has been outstanding and has picked up our rotation. We're not looking to add just anybody. It has to be the right fit."
Berkman returns to lineup after missing four games
NEW YORK -- Lance Berkman returned to the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday after sitting out the four previous games. Berkman was not available during the three-game series in St. Louis because of some soreness in his back that required an injection. The time off also gave him a chance to rest his right knee.
"I don't think either is a big concern," Berkman said. "It's just a little soreness, a little tightness, nothing to be concerned about."
There was no designated hitter in the National League city. Berkman said he could have pinch-hit in St. Louis, but the Rangers decided against it. They used Jurickson Profar in a couple of situations that might have been a good place for Berkman.
"Maybe Jurickson is better at driving the ball right now," Berkman said. "It's not like they had Babe Ruth sitting around. You have to consider the situation. They were committed to giving me those games off unless it was an emergency."
Berkman remains the Rangers' primary designated hitter. But he had two operations on his right knee last year, and the one thing the Rangers have learned is Berkman is going to need time off to remain effective.
"He's managing it, and [manager Ron Washington] is doing a good job managing it," general manager Jon Daniels said. "When we signed him, we knew it wouldn't be a 162-game marathon with him. We knew he would need time off. He's new at the role of designated hitter. He's still trying to figure that out and how his body bounces back. He can still be productive. We're just not sure how much he needs to play. We haven't figured that out yet."
Washington trying to find playing time for Profar
NEW YORK -- Infielder Jurickson Profar was not in the Rangers' lineup on Tuesday and is not expected to start on Wednesday. Manager Ron Washington said he'll likely get Profar back in the lineup on Thursday for a day game.
If so, it will be his first start since last Thursday against Oakland. Profar didn't start in St. Louis, but he did pinch-hit in all three games while Ian Kinsler started at second and Elvis Andrus was at shortstop.
"We just came out of a National League park," Washington said. "I'll mix him back in there as we move forward. Kinsler just got back [from the disabled list] and is playing well. Andrus is playing well. We'll figure out how to get him back in there now that we're playing American League baseball."
General manager Jon Daniels said he is content with how Profar is being used.
"Wash has done a great job trying to get everybody engaged and trying to win," Daniels said. "Everything is working well."
• Reliever Joakim Soria is scheduled to throw one inning on Wednesday for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers. It will be his third outing on a medical rehabilitation assignment, and Daniels said there is a possibility Soria could be in the Rangers' bullpen before the All-Star break. Soria had Tommy John surgery on April 3, 2012.
• Infielder Jeff Baker, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb, started hitting off a tee on Tuesday. He'll wait and see how he feels on Wednesday, but he had no problems swinging the bat on Tuesday. It's a significant first step.
• Neftali Feliz, who had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1 last year, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday in Arizona, but it is still just light throwing. He is throwing only fastballs and changeups and has not progressed to breaking balls yet. The Rangers still don't expect him back until August at the earliest.
• Tanner Scheppers went into Tuesday having appeared in 12 games this month, the second most in the AL. Robbie Ross, Joe Nathan and Neal Cotts were all tied for third. Said Washington: "We just went through a stretch where we played some pretty good teams, and it seemed like every night the game was on the line. We just haven't been able to back off and they don't want to back off. We're just playing good teams right now."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.