MRI shows no damage, so Adrian Beltre returns to lineup

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UPDATE: Change of plans, as Beltre apparently talked manager Ron Washington into letting him be the Rangers’ designated hitter tonight.

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Adrian Beltre is not in the Rangers’ lineup tonight after leaving last night’s game with a shoulder injury, but the good news is that an MRI exam showed no structural damage.

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Beltre could be available off the bench, so Rangers fans can probably stop holding their breath now.

By combining his usual excellent defense with an OPS around .900 for the third straight season Beltre is once again one of the best, most underrated all-around players in the league. He’s hitting .318 with 32 homers and 92 RBIs in 138 games and should win his fourth Gold Glove award this year.

Mike Olt would normally fill in for Beltre, but because he’s also banged up Ian Kinsler saw his first career action at third base yesterday.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.