Newly-signed Texas Ranger Adrian Beltre is expected to return to the field Sunday for batting practice and some light drills, reports the Star-Telegram .
Beltre strained his calf Feb. 24 and was said to be out 10-14 days with the injury at the time. Sunday will be 10 days since the injury, but he won't be ready to return to game action just yet. The activities -- which include fielding some grounders and running -- will simply be the next step in the process of returning to health.
The 31 year old signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Rangers in the offseason. The move caused an issue in camp, as Michael Young was moved off third base and was then disgruntled over the situation. But the coincidence here is that Beltre's injury simply reinforced the value Young can hold for the Rangers, as he could fill in at third. He's also been working out at first base and is expected to DH some, too.
Beltre hit .321 with a .919 OPS last season for the Red Sox, easily his best offensive season since his last (healthy) contract year, 2004. Young, 34, hit .284 with a .774 OPS in a season when he saw a six-year string of consecutive All-Star appearances broken. Beltre is a far superior defender by nearly every metric.
Expect Beltre to be brought along slowly here. Young provides insurance. Even if the lineup is best with both healthy, there's no reason to risk anything longer term in early March.
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