Adrian Beltre could make Cactus League debut as soon as Monday

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Adrian Beltre has made enough progress from his right calf injury that Rangers manager Ron Washington feels he could be able to make his spring debut Monday against the Dodgers, according to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.

If it isn’t Monday, it shouldn’t be long. Beltre ran the bases for a fourth straight day this morning and Washington mentioned he was running 4.2 seconds to first base and looked good during some difficult drills with the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

The 31-year-old third baseman feels two weeks of games will be “more than enough” time to get ready for the start of the season.

“I need to get in some games, see some breaking balls, get my timing and see the strike zone,” Beltre said. “Come April 1, you turn on the switch and that’s it.”

Beltre signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Rangers in January after batting .321/.365/.553 with 28 homers, 102 RBI and a .919 OPS with the Red Sox last season. He’ll be an improvement over Michael Young at third base and his righty bat should fit quite nicely in the middle of the Rangers’ lineup.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.