Texas Rangers

Despite Adrian Beltre’s status, Rangers relatively healthy for opener

Drew Robinson and Joey Gallo earn Opening Day roster spots

Drew Robinson and Joey Gallo react to learning they had earned spots on the Rangers' Opening Day 25-man roster (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
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Drew Robinson and Joey Gallo react to learning they had earned spots on the Rangers' Opening Day 25-man roster (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

Members of Texas Rangers Nation, the state of your team is strong.

Don’t let all of the last-minute health concerns as we approach Monday’s Opening Day game against the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians worry you.

Sure, Adrian Beltre will start the season on the disabled list with a strained right calf. Considering Beltre’s bona fides, the club has allowed him every chance to come to terms on his health, a luxury a rookie or journeyman utility player is unlikely to get. But that development, which manager Jeff Banister confirmed after Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals in the spring finale at Globe Life Park, is more a tribute to the depth of the Rangers’ roster than the severity of Beltre’ injury. He needs more time for treatment and rest.

This was all of us putting our minds together, taking all factors and trying to make the proper decision for the long term and not making a mistake on the front end thinking about the short term.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister

By making the move with Beltre using the MLB’s new 10-day DL standard, he could return as soon as Sunday, having missed only five games, by backdating his stint to Thursday.

“All parties involved felt it was best to start with him on the disabled list,” Banister said. “It’s a continued process with the medical team and obviously the buildup. As long as he can do the work I don’t think it will be long before we can get him up to game speed where he feels good about it.”

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the decision to start Adrian Beltre on the disabled list was agreed upon by everyone involved (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

Opening Day rosters are officially due by 11 a.m. Sunday but once Beltre’s decision was made, the Rangers didn’t need more time to fill out the names. Joey Gallo will start at third base Monday and is likely to remain there until Beltre returns, Banister suggested.

“This was all of us putting our minds together, taking all factors and trying to make the proper decision for the long term and not making a mistake on the front end thinking about the short term,” Banister said. “It’s about getting his body and legs in position to be able to endure the season.”

The Rangers will go with a four-man bench and an eight-man bullpen, including Mike Hauschild, the Rule 5 pick the Rangers snagged from the Astros in December. He’s likely to work as a middle and long reliever. Left-hander Dario Alvarez and right-hander Jose Leclerc fill out the ’pen, and join long-established names Matt Bush, Tony Barnette, Jeremy Jeffress, Alex Claudio and closer Sam Dyson.

9 Rangers players will start the season on the disabled list, including Prince Fielder, who was forced to retire last season for medical reasons.

Gallo isn’t the only option to help fill Beltre’s void at third. Jurickson Profar and Drew Robinson could be used there. Robinson, who has yet make his major league debut, will provide a left-handed bat off the bench. His inclusion on the roster was likely predicated on the Rangers’ not employing a short, three-man bench, which Banister had suggested was an option the first two weeks while using a four-man rotation.

Beltre is not the only infielder on the left side at less than 100 percent health. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who had surgery on Nov. 1 to repair a sports hernia, is close but after a cautious spring is still working back to full strength.

Shin-Soo Choo, marred by multiple injuries last season, has stayed healthy this spring and appears poised for a return to form at the plate, this year as the designated hitter more often. He drove in two runs in the second inning Saturday with a double to the left-field corner. Delino DeShields earned a spot after an extraordinary spring in which he stole 14 bases in 14 attempts and finished in the top 10 in on-base percentage at .442.

The pitching staff has remained relatively healthy. Both new additions to the starting rotation, right-handers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, won’t be ready for Opening Day but remain on their respective schedules. Cashner, the former TCU standout, pitched three scoreless innings Friday and is on track to return to join the rotation on April 15, the first day the Rangers would need a fifth starter. Despite Cashner’s progress, his return date could still be pushed back out of an abundance of caution.

Outfielder/infielder Drew Robinson and third baseman Joey Gallo earned their first Opening Day roster spots. Robinson has yet to make his major league debut.

“I would like to make sure when we get him back, we get him back for the full year,” pitching coach Doug Brocail said. “I don’t want any setbacks.”

Ross, who is returning from surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome in October, impressed Brocail with a 50-pitch bullpen session on Thursday, gushing it “was really good.”

Right-handed reliever Tanner Scheppers’ abdominal strain was confirmed by a second opinion. He’s improving and threw a bullpen before Saturday’s game but his injury status makes it unlikely he’s part of the Opening Day roster, Banister said.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the combined three-hit shutout thrown by Cole Hamels and Andrew Cashner (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels provides updates Friday on several players, including the decision to send Keone Kela to Triple A (video by Jeff Wilson).

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

Kansas City

000

010

002

3

Texas

140

000

00x

5

Kansas City ab

r

h

bi

Texas ab

r

h

bi

A.Grdon lf

2

0

0

0

DShelds cf

1

1

1

1

Lo.Moon lf

1

0

0

0

C.Pello cf

2

0

2

0

Mstakas 3b

2

0

0

0

Sh.Choo rf

2

1

1

2

Cthbert 3b

2

1

0

0

J.Hying rf

2

0

0

0

Lo.Cain cf

1

0

0

0

C.Gomez dh

2

0

1

2

B.Burns cf

1

1

0

0

T.Snder ph

1

0

0

0

E.Hsmer 1b

2

0

0

0

Ro.Odor 2b

1

0

0

0

Br.Pena 1b

2

0

2

2

L.Marte 2b

2

0

0

0

S.Perez c

1

0

0

0

J.Lcroy c

3

0

0

0

D.Btera c

2

1

1

1

Chrinos c

1

0

0

0

Z.Evans c

1

0

0

0

N.Mzara lf

2

0

0

0

Br.Moss dh

3

0

0

0

J.Prfar lf

2

0

1

0

Arteaga ph

1

0

0

0

Rya.Rua 1b

2

1

1

0

Orlando rf

2

0

1

0

Rbinson 1b

1

0

0

0

O’Brien rf

1

0

0

0

J.Gallo 3b

1

1

0

0

Escobar ss

2

0

1

0

Mrtnson 3b

1

0

0

0

C.Colon ss

1

0

0

0

E.Andrs ss

1

1

0

0

Mondesi 2b

2

0

0

0

De Leon ss

1

0

0

0

Mrrfeld 2b

1

0

0

0

Totals 30

3

5

3

Totals 28

5

7

5

E—Perez (1). DP—Kansas City 2, Texas 0. LOB—Kansas City 3, Texas 4. 2B—Pena (4), Choo (3), Gomez (4), Rua (3). HR—Butera (2). SB—DeShields (14). CS—Profar (1). SF—DeShields (1), Gomez (3).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Hammel L, 0-2

2

4

5

4

1

0

Moylan

1

0

0

0

0

1

Vargas

3

2

0

0

0

4

Alburquerque

1

1

0

0

0

2

Hill

1

0

0

0

0

1

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Webster W, 2-0

4

1

0

0

1

1

Bass

2

2

1

1

0

2

Claiborne

1

1

0

0

0

0

Bibens-Dirkx

1

0

0

0

0

2

Dragmire

1

1

2

2

2

0

HBP—by—Hammel (Odor). Umpires—Home, Ramon De Jesus; First, Lance Barrett; Second, Adam Hamari; Third, Toby Basner. T—2:26. A—16,143

Rangers 25-man roster

Outfield

Delino DeShields

Shin-Soo Choo

Carlos Gomez

Jurickson Profar

Drew Robinson

Ryan Rua

Nomar Mazara

Infield

1B Mike Napoli

2B Rougned Odor

SS Elvis Andrus

3B Joey Gallo

C Jonathan Lucroy

C Robinson Chirinos

Rotation

RHP Yu Darvish

LHP Cole Hamels

LHP Martin Perez

RHP A.J. Griffin

Bullpen

RHP Mike Hauschild

RHP Sam Dyson

RHP Matt Bush

RHP Tony Barnette

LHP Alex Claudio

RHP Jeremy Jeffress

LHP Dario Alvarez

RHP Jose Leclerc

The following Rangers players will start the season on the disabled list:

SS Hanser Alberto, 3B Adrian Beltre, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (on the 60), C Brett Nicholas, RHP Tanner Scheppers and LHP Jake Diekman, and DH Prince Fielder.

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