Rangers Most Likely: Derek Holland, Round 1

ANAHEIM -- Pitcher Derek Holland, still recovering from offseason knee surgery, and infielder Jurickson Profar, who is sidelined with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, continue to make good progress but the Rangers are going to be careful before they put them in games.

Holland is throwing live batting practice in Arizona and going through fielding and agility drills but has not progressed to the point where he can pitch in games until the knee is stronger.

"We're pleased where his arm is but we're not putting him in games until we feel more comfortable about his ability to field his position," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

Profar is expected to start a throwing program later this week but the Rangers aren't going to rush him. They tried to ramp him up quickly in Spring Training when he was dealing with tendinitis so this time they are going to extend his throwing program until they are sure about his arm strength.

"We're going to be a little bit more cautious," Levine said.

Andrus dropped to No. 9 spot in lineup

OAK@TEX: Andrus struck by ground ball in hand

ANAHEIM -- Rangers manager Ron Washington dropped slumping shortstop Elvis Andrus into the No. 9 spot for Sunday's game against the Angels.

Andrus went into Sunday's game with just one hit in his last 24 at-bats and two in his last 38. His batting average has gone from .304 to .217 over the past 12 games. He is also hitless in his last 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"I'm moving him down to get him to relax a little bit," Washington said. "Hopefully he does. Maybe he doesn't. I want to give him a little break and get him back to where he should be. He's not seeing the ball well. He's chasing pitches he normally doesn't chase. Right now he is out of sync."

This is the first time that Andrus has been in the starting lineup at the No. 9 spot since 2010.

"It's not the first time it's happened," Andrus said. "As long as I'm in the lineup, I'm happy. It's not news that I'm scuffling at the plate. I'm down for anything that can help the team. If the manager thinks moving me down and putting somebody else in the No. 2 hole, until I get my swing … if that's best for the team, there is nothing you can do.

"Even yesterday I felt I had a couple of good at bats but that guy [Garrett Richards] had really good stuff. He had my number. I've got to keep fighting. I still have plenty of at-bats in front of me. As long as I stay positive, things will be fine."

Daniel Robertson was in the lineup, batting second and playing left field. It is the first time he has been in the lineup since being acquired from the Padres on April 23. Michael Choice was in center field. Leonys Martin was given the day off with left-hander Tyler Skaggs on the mound for the Angels and Shin-Soo Choo was at designated hitter.

Washington said he's not sure how long he will leave Andrus at the bottom of the order.

"We'll see how it goes today," Washington said.

Beltre trying to get untracked

TEX@SEA: Beltre snags hot shot, gets out at first

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' new lineup on Sunday did not affect third baseman Adrian Beltre. With a left-hander on the mound, he was still batting third ahead of first baseman Prince Fielder. The two flip-flop when there is a right-hander on the mound.

But Beltre has been struggling as much as anybody in the lineup since his return from the disabled list. Beltre, who missed two weeks with a tight left quad muscle, is hitless in his last 12 at-bats, one for his last 20 and hitting .167 with one RBI in eight games since his return.

"I'm trying to find my swing," Beltre said. "You go through highs and lows during the season. I lost my swing when I went on the disabled list and I'm trying to find it. When you're in a slump, sometimes you hit the ball hard and they catch it and sometimes you take bad swings. It all evens out at the end.

"I'm not frustrated. Of course I want to help the team win ballgames. But it's baseball, sooner or later it will happen."

Beltre, Fielder and Alex Rios have all batted No. 3 this season and nobody has been able to produce in the spot. Going into Sunday, Rangers No. 3 hitters were batting .213 with a .262 on-base percentage and a .287 slugging percentage. All three were the lowest for an American League team. They are the only A.L. team without a home run from that spot.

Like Elvis, manager Ron Washinton said Beltre is out of sync at the plate.

"If you're gone for two weeks, you're not going to step in there and have everything fall into place," Washington said. "It's a matter of him getting at-bats. I'm not worried about Beltre."

Rangers keep tabs on free agent Morales

Outlook: Morales a steady source for 20-plus homers

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers are among many teams who are keeping an eye on free-agent hitter Kendry Morales, who is represented by agent Scott Boras and working out in the Miami area. The Rangers have attended his public workouts but are not in active negotiations with Boras.

"When we went to see his workouts, there might have been 20 teams there," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "Scott has informed each team when he is having public workouts. We, like many, have attended. That's not always directly correlated to an immediate need. We always like to keep our options open in case something that is not a need today becomes a need down the road."

The Rangers entered Sunday's game ranked 10th in the American League with 122 runs scored and 11th with a .372 slugging percentage. Morales is a switch-hitter who could be used at designated hitter or first base. He played in 156 games for the Mariners last year and hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI.

Morales is believed to be looking for a multi-year contract but the bigger issue is he turned down a qualifying offer from the Mariners. That means the Rangers would forfeit their first-round pick in next month's First-Year Player Draft if they signed him. The Rangers don't appear willing to do that.

Worth noting

Alexi Ogando has made 17 relief appearances in the Rangers first 30 games. The only two pitchers who had 18 for the Rangers in 30 games were Dale Mohorcic in 1987 and Aaron Fultz in 2003.

Joe Saunders, on the disabled list with a bruised left ankle, will start for Double-A Frisco on medical rehab assignment against Midland on Tuesday at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.

• Pitcher Josh McElwee and outfielder Ryan Cordell have been promoted from extended Spring Training to Class A Hickory.

• The Red Sox rotation is lined up so that Clay Buchholz., Jon Lester and John Lackey will pitch the three-game series with the Rangers next weekend in Arlington.