Is Adrian Beltre baseball's Benjamin Button? Skills wise, he might be, but injuries impacted him more than ever in 2017, as a calf strain put him on the DL coming out of spring training and cost him nearly two months to start the season. In addition to collecting his 3,000th career hit in July, Beltre improved his slash line across the board as a 38-year-old last season, but he missed additional time due to a hamstring strain at the end of August, and the Rangers backed off his workload down the stretch once the team fell out of wild-card contention. Between age 33-37, Beltre averaged an astonishing 152 games played per season from 2012-2016, a number that was simply unsustainable as he moved closer to age 40. Nevertheless, the per-game output remains excellent, as he was on pace for 30 homers and 123 RBI while maintaining his typically strong plate discipline. Other than health, there is nothing in his profile to suggest that he can't continue to produce at a well above-average clip for another season.
Beltre is making his spring debut Monday against the Giants, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Beltre has been delayed to start the spring not due to any injury, but, "Because I'm old," according to the man himself. The 38-year-old third baseman appeared in just 94 games for the Rangers in an injury-plagued 2017 season, his lowest total since his rookie season back in 1998. He has been remarkably durable in his 20-year major-league career, recording at least 600 plate appearances 14 times and eclipsing the 500 plate appearance mark on all but three occasions. The delayed start to his spring shouldn't be taken as an indication of any current ailment, but instead as an effort to prevent injuries from impacting him as much as they did a year ago.
The Rangers received positive reports on Beltre's conditioning heading into spring training and expect the veteran third baseman to face no limitations on the health front, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. When he was on the field during his age-38 season, Beltre showed no signs of slippage with a .312/.383/.532 line across 389 plate appearances, but lower-body injuries hindered him more than ever. After missing most of the first two months of the season with a calf strain, Beltre didn't miss a beat upon returning to the lineup and later collected his 3,000th career hit in July before succumbing to a hamstring strain in late August. Beltre returned sooner than expected from the injury in an attempt to guide the Rangers to the playoffs, but was shut down once the team was officially eliminated. With a full offseason to recover from the hamstring issue, it appears Beltre is feeling good entering his 21st season, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Rangers managed his workload carefully following an injury-plagued campaign. There's no reason to suspect any major decline from Beltre on a per-plate appearance basis, though the possibility of more frequent days off could inhibit his output in the counting-stats categories.
Beltre (rest) is in the lineup Sunday against the A's. It had been thought that Beltre would rest for the remainder of the 2017 season, but he'll serve as the Rangers' designated hitter and hit fourth Sunday. Beltre will head into Sunday's game with a .311 batting average and .915 OPS that was built over 93 games.
Beltre (rest) will be shut down for the rest of the 2017 season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. With the Rangers eliminated from playoff contention, Beltre will rest for the remainder of the 2017 campaign. Beltre battled injuries over the course of the year and played in fewer than 100 games (93) for the first time since reaching the majors in 1998. Although his season was hindered by injuries, Beltre was effective when healthy as he slashed .311/.382/.533, mashed 17 home runs, and picked up 71 RBI. With Beltre done for the year, look for Drew Robinson to start at the hot corner.
Beltre may shut it down for the rest of the 2017 season with the Rangers eliminated from the wild-card chase, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Beltre said that he would need to discuss his status with the Rangers' front office, but stated that he doesn't know if he will be out on the field again this year. The 38-year-old was finally able to handle the third base duties during Tuesday's contest, which marked the first time that he was back at his typical position since late August, when he went down with a hamstring injury. Although he's been back in the lineup for the last two weeks, the recent hamstring injury mixed with Texas' elimination could mean the end of the 2017 campaign for Beltre. Drew Robinson will get the start at third base for Wednesday's matinee against Houston.
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