Adrian Beltre showed up at Texas Rangers camp Sunday morning, as did Jeremy Guthrie, but more importantly so did Tony Beasley.
Those were the three prevailing storylines as pitchers and catchers continued to work out ahead of the first full-squad practice Wednesday. But there were others, including surprising praise about a rotation candidate.
Without further ado ... Thoughts? Here are five:
1. Beasley is the Rangers’ third-base coach and infield coach. The guess here is that it won’t be long until he can add another title: Cancer survivor.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but he has a lot on his side. He has been diagnosed with Stage 2 rectal cancer, which doctors told him means they caught it early enough and it hasn’t spread to other body parts. There is some swelling in the lymph nodes, he said almost as an afterthought.
He has an appointment with docs here Monday and expects to begin chemotherapy this week. He will go in for chemo four times, once every two weeks, and wear a pump for 48 hours after each treatment.
The pump might limit what he will be able to do, as will possible fatigue or other side effects common with chemo.
But his head and heart are in the right place, guided by a faith that is telling him to take his diagnosis as an opportunity and not an obstacle. He’s got this.
2. Beltre had plenty to say, beginning with his desire for a 13-year contract like the $325 million deal Giancarlo Stanton has. Such a deal would allow Beltre to play until age 50.
He was kidding, or at least that’s the way the media took it.
“Totally reasonable,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “As long as he’s willing to defer $300 million.”
It’s clear, though, that he wants to keep playing, keep playing for the Rangers, and do so at a high level. While many expect a soon-to-be-37-year-old to slow down, Beltre doesn’t see it happening.
Neither do the Rangers, who are interested in keeping Beltre even though top prospect Joey Gallo is a third baseman. Beltre’s six-year, $96 million contract expires after the season, and he would prefer to not have free agency on his mind during the season.
Beltre also addressed the state of his left thumb, which, after listening to him, was injured far more than was revealed during the season. He says it’s fine now after off-season surgery, but in-season surgery was an option as late as during a late-July series at Anaheim.
Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter that weekend, days before he would be traded to the Rangers, and Beltre decided to hold off on surgery and finished the season as one of the league’s hottest hitters and with a berth the postseason.
I don’t think anybody wants to go into a season [without a contract extension], but I’ve been there before. I have no problem doing it but it’s nice to know that you have a chance to get it done before the season starts and not have that in the back of your mind thinking you might not be here next year.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre
3. Guthrie threw a bullpen shortly after passing his physical, and he is in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation (also known as Yu Darvish’s spot).
Guthrie said lousy location was the culprit behind his woeful 2015, which included a 5.95 ERA, a 1.551 WHIP and no spot on the Royals’ postseason roster. He’ll get a ring, which he earned and will wear proudly.
Will he make the Rangers’ rotation? It says here that Chi Chi Gonzalez is the front-runner, followed by A.J. Griffin and Nick Martinez. But crazy things can happen, so Guthrie is in camp.
4. Pitching coach Doug Brocail talked about the need for young pitchers to pace themselves as they fight the sense of urgency to win the final rotation spot, and when asked which candidate had made a favorable impression, he dug pretty deep.
“Mr. Tepesch’s bullpen was ... phenomenal,” Brocail said. (The ellipses are taking the place of a curse word used as an adjective.)
Mr. Tepesch is Nick Tepesch, the right-hander who not long ago came to spring training in 2013 as a non-roster invite and won a rotation spot. Hmm. He’s in the same spot this year, albeit after missing 2015.
It might be wise to keep an eye on him.
39 Career starts for right-hander Nick Tepesch, who impressed Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail on Sunday
5. It pays to be a veteran. They hit first or throw their bullpens first, and they’re the first ones off the field, the first to each lunch and the first to go home (or the golf course).
With workouts starting at 9 a.m., earlier than in past springs, veterans have been back in the clubhouse before 11. Not bad. The days usually get longer when full-squad workouts begin, but anyone coming to Surprise to see the Rangers on the backfields should get there when gates open.