It remains to be seen what position(s) he’ll play once he returns from a fractured right thumb, but the Nationals have cleared Ryan Zimmerman to begin a minor-league rehab assignment tonight at Single-A.
Zimmerman has been out since April 12 with an injury that was initially supposed to carry a 4-6 week recovery timetable.
He’s been taking pregame fly balls in left field for a while now and after denying that it had anything to do with a potential position switch right away the Nationals have loosened up that stance considerably this week. In fact, now it sounds like Zimmerman might play some outfield and some first base in addition to his usual third base.
Even before fracturing his thumb Zimmerman struggled to make throws from third base because of chronic shoulder problems, so this latest injury may have simply hastened a change.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he doesn’t expect the club to make a $17.9 million qualifying offer to free agent third baseman Adrián Beltré, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. Daniels has been in touch with the 39-year-old, who may retire.
Beltré battled hip and hamstring issues throughout the past season, limiting him to 119 games. He hit .273/.328/.434 with 15 home runs and 65 RBI in 481 plate appearances. Going by adjusted OPS, his mark of 98 — 100 is average — was his lowest in a season since 2009 with the Mariners. Beltré’s career average is 116 and he put up a 132 in 2017 and 128 in ’16.
Beltré appears to have some stuff left in the tank. He may not be an All-Star-caliber player anymore, but he can still hit at an average level and he is still an above-average defender. It’s just a matter of his body holding up to allow him to do what he needs to do. If Beltré does decide to re-up with the Rangers for 2019, the club will be prepared to move Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Jurickson Profar over to the hot corner as they did in 2018 in the event Beltré gets bitten by the injury bug.