SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Cactus League is up and running with the Texas Rangers falling 4-2 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. An anemic offense slowed the Rangers as non-roster invitee Doug Deeds supplied the only runs with a two-run homer in the sixth inning. More important news came down on the injury front regarding pitcher Brandon Webb and third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Here are six items from Sunday in the desert:
1. Brandon Webb pitched off the mound for the first time since the first week in camp. After the 10-minute, 26- to 28-pitch session, the right-hander emerged with a giant smile and felt he had made a breakthrough in his long fight to return from a shoulder injury that required surgery in August 2009. "It was good. Zero issues. Felt really good," Webb said. "Threw some changeups. Felt fine, didn't want to stop so that was good."
2. The Rangers and third baseman Adrian Beltre refuted a report Saturday night that his calf strain could keep him out for up to one month and possibly keep him out of the season opener on April 1. Beltre said he feels he remains on track to be game-ready by around March 10. He said if this was the regular season he would likely be able to play through the Grade I strain.
3. C.J. Wilson made his first start in the Cactus League opener. He pitched two innings and retired the last six batters he faced. However, the first three batters reached base, two scored -- one was unearned after a Michael Young throwing error -- and Wilson, in the top 10 in the major-leagues in pitches thrown last season, threw 40 and just 27 for strikes. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
4. Speaking of Wilson, he and catcher Matt Treanor became familiar battery mates as Treanor exclusively caught Wilson from about the mid-point of the season through the World Series. Manager Ron Washington was asked if that pairing would remain the same in 2011and he responded by saying, "I'm not going to mess with success." That led to the obvious follow-up question of will Treanor then start on Opening Day instead of No. 1 catcher Yorvit Torrealba since Washington named Wilson the starter last week? Washington said, "We'll find out."
5. Mike Napoli, the former Anaheim Angel who the Rangers traded for after the Angels dealt him to Toronto for Vernon Wells, had a single in three at-bats Sunday, but he left three runners on base. Two were left stranded at first and third in the bottom of the ninth. Napoli swung at the first pitch he saw and popped out to shallow center. Washington, though, said he didn't mind Napoli being aggressive with a pitch he thought he could drive. "He can hit the ball out of the park," Washington said.
6. The Rangers have now signed all of their pre-arbitration players. Pedro Strop agreed to a deal that pays him $416,000 in 2011.
Strop, 25, was 1-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 42 1/3 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City with 57 strikeouts and 14 walks. He pitched in 10 2/3 innings in the majors last year and gave up 12 earned runs (with 11 strikeouts and 11 walks). The Rangers signed five players Saturday, including shortstop Elvis Andrus.