Rangers pitcher Omar Beltre to undergo spinal surgery

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Omar Beltre, a 29-year-old right-hander expected to compete for a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen this spring, will be sidelined for at least three months following surgery for spinal stenosis.

He’s scheduled for surgery next Tuesday and won’t be cleared to resume throwing for 6-8 weeks. However, because no other prominent baseball players have undergone the surgery for the genetic disorder described as a narrowing of the spine the Rangers are unsure about the exact timetable for Beltre’s recovery.

Assistant general manager Thad Levine called it “uncharted waters” for a baseball player and noted that spinal stenosis “is a condition known more in older people.”

Beltre originally signed with the Rangers way back in 2000, but was banned from entering the country for five years because of his involvement in a visa fraud scandal. He made two starts for the Rangers around midseason, but spent most of last year posting a 2.65 ERA and 85/38 K/BB ratio in 85 innings at Triple-A.

Padres acquire Phil Hughes from Twins

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Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.

Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.

Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.

The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.