Jeter's fake HBP was child's play. Watch the real pros work.

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Derek Jeter kind of sold his fake HBP last night. I mean, yeah, he got the call and I guess that’s the whole point. But he has a long way to go until he can consider himself a master of the genre.

For example, check out this fine work by Yunel Escobar last year. He didn’t merely hop around and grimace. He hit the dirt, baby! If I didn’t know any better I’d say he had taken method acting at the Actor’s Studio and was playing the role of Andre Dawson in his 1987 ball-to-the-face performance.

Or how about this guy?  Sure, he ultimately didn’t get the call and was ejected for trying too hard. But hey, just because Eric Bogosian didn’t win the 1988 Best Actor Oscar for “Talk Radio” doesn’t mean he didn’t act circles around Dustin Hoffman’s embarrassing turn in “Rain Man.” It’s about the quality, not about the politics of awards season!

 

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.