The Rangers’ third base situation worked itself out in a sad way when they placed the hot-hitting Kevin Kouzmanoff on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his back, and activated Adrian Beltre from the 15-day DL. Beltre was dealing with a strained left quadriceps and missed the minimum amount of time. The news comes from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Kouzmanoff hadn’t played in the Majors since 2011, but came out of the gate on fire for the Rangers, replacing the injured Beltre. In 51 trips to the plate, Kouzmanoff slashed .362/.412/.617 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. Leading up to his injury, Beltre was slashing .286/.394/.393.
Beltre is in Friday night’s lineup against the Mariners, batting third and playing third.
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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.