Rangers: Beltre still expected to miss only two weeks


Jon Heyman of SI.com reported Saturday that Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is likely to miss “about a month” of spring training because of the Grade 1 muscle strain in his right calf, putting his status for Opening Day in serious doubt.

The Rangers are now refuting that, holding strong to their estimation that Beltre might be ready for spring games around March 10 and that he will be fine by the regular season opener.

Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas spoke Sunday morning with Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine in an attempt to clear up the confusion:

“[We] still feel it’s two weeks,” said Levine.

Adrian Beltre was signed to a five-year, $80 million contract this offseason after posting a .321/.365/.553 batting line, 28 home runs and 102 RBI over 154 games in 2010 for the Red Sox while also playing great defense at the hot corner. The Rangers open their season at home on April 1 against Boston.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.