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Rangers C Geovany Soto has surgery to remove small bone from left foot

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SURPRISE, Ariz. - Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto had arthroscopic surgery Saturday to remove a small bone from his left foot.

Soto had the surgery a day after returning to Texas to be examined by a specialist for what the team had called an Achilles issue. Doctors discovered a bone putting pressure on a flexor tendon.

The Rangers said the procedure went well and that the expectation is their starting catcher should be ready for the start of the regular season.

"He should be full-go in approximately three weeks. That was part of the reason he had the procedure now," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "His other choice was to effectively try to get through the season with a series of injections."

Soto is expected to be back at spring training camp by Monday. He will be in a walking boot for about 10 days before resuming baseball activities.

In the off-season, Texas also signed J.P. Arencibia, whom manager Ron Washington said will get the bulk of time in drills while Soto is out.

Levine said the bone removed from Soto's foot is a bone that not every person has, and that the tendon being pressed "effectively controls the use of your toes."

If Soto is fully back to speed in three weeks, he would still then have two more weeks before the season opener March 31 at home against Philadelphia.

Soto, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2008 for the Chicago Cubs, was mainly a backup in Texas last season to A.J. Pierzynski, who left in free agency. Soto was the first of 168 major league free agents during the off-season to agree to a big league contract, with a $3.05 million deal in November.

Soto was the primary catcher for Rangers ace Yu Darvish the second half of the season. Soto hit .245 with nine homers and 22 RBIs in 54 games last season.

Arencibia spent the first 3 1/2 seasons of his career with Toronto. He hit .194 with 21 homers and 55 RBIs in 138 games last season.

Notes: LHP Derek Holland is off crutches and starting to walk on a treadmill, but remains in Texas doing rehab after microfracture surgery on the left knee that he injured when he was tripped by his dog on the stairs at his home this winter. ... RF Alex Rios got a second day off in a row because of his sore big left toe.

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