ARLINGTON -- Kyle McClellan keeps his 2011 World Series ring with the Cardinals hidden in a safe place. He said he only wears it for offseason autograph signings and speaking engagements. But McClellan jokingly asked his Rangers teammates if he should bring the ring in the clubhouse for the first game against the Cardinals since the 2011 Series on Friday in St. Louis.
"Maybe I'll wear it when I go out to pitch and call timeout and have them take it off," McClellan joked.
Turning serious, McClellan said he won't wear the ring, but the Rangers have healed from the crushing defeats in Games 6 and 7. McClellan said the team jabs back and forth with him and Lance Berkman, who was also with the Cardinals. McClellan said he asked how the Spurs felt after losing Game 6 in the NBA Finals on Tuesday, given the parallels with how close the Rangers and Spurs were to winning the title.
"As soon as [McClellan] got here, that was the first joke," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We still kind of hate him for that series, but it's going to be fun to go back there. I know a lot of people are going to talk about Game 6, but it's just another game in the regular season for us."
It'll just count as three regular-season games, and both teams have gone through a number of roster moves in the last two years, but Rangers outfielder David Murphy said he won't have good memories when he takes the field.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I'm going to walk into that field and I'm not going to have some flashbacks to 2011," Murphy said. "I think the natural reaction and process is to think that they're going to be negative thoughts, but really off the top of my head, I'm going to remember some of the greatest baseball that I've ever witnessed on that field. Things didn't turn out the way that we wanted to, but there was some great baseball played there."
"It felt so close, you never really realize it sometimes," Andrus added. "You kind of go back and think how close we were, but things happen for a reason. It helped us as a team, and hopefully we get in that situation soon."
Perez to start Saturday against Cardinals
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers announced Martin Perez will start against the Cardinals on Saturday.
Perez traveled with the team after Thursday's 4-3 victory over the A's, and the Rangers will announce the corresponding roster move on Saturday.
It will be Perez's second start this season. He allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the D-backs on May 27.
Perez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left wrist on March 31. He was optioned to Double-A Frisco once he was off the disabled list, then sent to Triple-A Round Rock after his start against the D-backs. He is 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA in six starts with Round Rock.
"I just want to do the same that I did in Triple-A," Perez said Thursday. "I don't want to do too much. I just want to do my best job and compete. That's what I need. I come in more strong in my mind. That's good, because when that happens, you become stronger and work harder. I feel comfortable on the mound. I've never been more comfortable than this year."
Nick Tepesch's start will get pushed back to Sunday, and Yu Darvish will start Tuesday against the Yankees.
The Rangers also announced that Joakim Soria began his rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on Thursday. Soria was scheduled to pitch an inning in the first of multiple appearances with the team.
Soria threw two live batting-practice sessions during the Rangers' 11-game homestand, and threw the ball well in both outings as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
"I'm very pleased," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "We'll see how he comes out of that. We'll give him a day or two days after that, and then send him back out there again. We hope he continues to progress."
Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis had some action at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday. Ogando threw long toss from 150 feet and Lewis had a bullpen session. Ogando is expected to long-toss again on Friday, while Lewis will work out with Double-A Frisco.
Neftali Feliz will throw his second 25-pitch bullpen session Friday at the Rangers' Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz. Matt Harrison is also scheduled to throw from 75 feet next week.
Andrus still looking for answers at plate
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus feels winning can help cure his offensive funk at the plate, but it didn't help on Wednesday.
The Rangers racked up 14 hits in Wednesday's victory over the A's, but Andrus went hitless. He hit a hard ground ball in the sixth when the Rangers brought nine men to the plate, but Eric Sogard made a nice diving play to get Andrus out.
"That's the way it's been going this year so far," Andrus said. "One thing I got in my mind so far is during the season, it's all about how you end up, not how you start. I still believe that my best is in front of me, and I've got plenty of at-bats to get back where I want to be."
Andrus had just one hit in his last 22 at-bats entering play on Thursday. He is 17-for-106 in his past 26 games, dropping his batting average from .282 to .238. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he liked Andrus' at-bats and energy on Wednesday.
"He swung the bat well for a while and went into a little slump," Washington said. "All you can do is hit the ball. Normally, after he does something like that, he'll come in and lose his mind, but last night he calmly put his stuff down. I'm not worried about Elvis. As long as he's healthy, he'll figure it out."
• Nelson Cruz remained in the third spot of the lineup on Thursday. He went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Wednesday's win.
"I'm sorry that I never thought about doing that before," Washington said. "I always think about him protecting [Adrian] Beltre, but Nelson's been a third hitter in his career, a fourth hitter in his career. But for some reason, I got locked in with him protecting Beltre."
• Washington said Mitch Moreland will likely start in the bottom of the lineup when he returns from the disabled list on Friday. Moreland could be an option for the Rangers at the fifth spot down the road.
• A.J. Pierzynski and Berkman were given the day off on Thursday with a day game following a night game. Geovany Soto started at catcher and Robinson Chirinos started at first base. Ian Kinsler was the designated hitter, with Jurickson Profar at second.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.