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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 25th (All times Eastern)

Texas Rangers (14-8) at Seattle Mariners (8-13), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1, 2.31) Seattle - Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.22)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers expect to have third baseman Adrian Beltre back in the lineup on Friday when they start a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Beltre, who is batting .286 with three doubles and four RBI in eight games this season, has been sidelined since April 8 with a left quadriceps injury.

"I did not agree with the decision. It was out of my hands," Beltre said when he was placed on the disabled list back on April 13. "Obviously the medical staff and the front office thought it was best. ... I have no say over that."

Texas manager Ron Washington now has to find a spot for Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has been terrific in Beltre's absence, as he picked up an AL Player of the Week award and hit .362 with 10 RBI in 13 games.

Kouzmanoff, though, has been troubled of late by a bad back and had to miss the Rangers' 3-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Texas comes into tonight's opener on the heels of sweeping Oakland and has won eight of its last nine games to move into a first-place tie with the A's atop the American League West.

"We won three games here because we played very well," Washington said after Wednesday's win. "We're pleased to get three games here, but we have to continue to play baseball."

Hoping to keep the Rangers rolling on Friday will be lefty Robbie Ross Jr., who is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA. Ross absorbed the loss on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, as he was ripped for seven runs (4 earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Ross, though, tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Mariners two starts ago.

Seattle, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Roenis Elias, who has lost two of his last three starts. Elias lost in Miami on Saturday, as the Marlins reached him for six runs (4 earned) and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, dropping him to 1-2 on the year to go along with a 3.22 ERA.

"We kept him out there probably longer than we should have, but our bullpen had been so taxed, we tried to get another inning out of him," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "And he ended up giving up a couple more runs in that ballgame."

Like Ross, Elias beat the Rangers two starts ago, holding them to a run in 6 2/3 frames.

Seattle snapped an eight-game skid in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, as Kyle Seager's three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning carried the Mariners to a 5-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Seager drove in all five of Seattle's runs, also hitting a two-run homer in the seventh. Fernando Rodney (1-1) spun a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.

"You can't say enough about Seager and the way he's been battling, the way he's been grinding," said Mariners starting pitcher Chris Young. "He is a true professional. He picked us up today with a much-needed win and that's awesome to see."

Texas took three of four from the Mariners earlier in the year.

04/25 10:24:34 ET