Third baseman Adrian Beltre might not be a player for the Texas Rangers until Sunday, and possibly longer, as he takes extra time to ensure that his legs are in game shape.
Beltre was in the lineup Tuesday for the Wednesday opener but did not play against the Kansas City Royals and also isn’t in the early lineup for Thursday. The Rangers are at Surprise Stadium on Friday, and manager Jeff Banister does not expect Beltre to travel Saturday for a game in Scottsdale.
The Rangers are home again Sunday and Monday, games that look to be the best before for Beltre’s Cactus League debut.
One hundred percent, 100 percent, 100 percent.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre on his health
“There are no limitations on me,” Beltre said. “It’s spring training. It’s as simple as that.”
Banister assured that Beltre is not injured. But he is almost 37 and entering his 19th season, so the Rangers are on board with whatever his timeline might be.
“When his legs feel good and he’s ready to go in a game, we’ll get him in a game,” Banister said. “We’ll give him the option to be in when he’s ready to go in.
“There’s nothing. Not at all. I don’t even know if he’s sore. He came to me, and say, ‘Can we give it a couple more days?’ Yeah, we can give it a couple more days.”
Beltre suffered a calf injury in 2011 that kept him out for the first two weeks of spring games, and has also dealt with minor soreness or tweaks that have limited his action in other camps.
He has battled leg injuries since coming to the Rangers in 2011, though has found a way to manage them. The time he spent on the disabled list in 2015 was because of a thumb injury.
Left fielder Ian Desmond was also out of the lineup for the spring opener after being a late arrival to camp. Banister expects Desmond to jump into games soon, probably first at designated hitter as he continues to learn the outfield.
No action Jackson
Right-hander Luke Jackson was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his lower back and will be shut down from baseball activities for two weeks.
The starter-turned-reliever returned to camp after visiting back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett on Tuesday in Dallas. Jackson has been bothered by back issues almost every spring in his career, and Dossett said that the stress reaction is an old injury.
“It’s good news,” Jackson said. “I was hoping it was just three days, but two weeks I can deal with.”
Jackson will do low-impact cardio work the next two weeks, and he hopes to do some throwing while wearing a small back brace.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton hopes to shed the crutches he has been using since Feb. 22 on Thursday and begin the next step in the eight-week program designed to get his left knee ready by early May.
Josh Hamilton will open 2016 on the disabled list with left knee inflammation. He was given two injections last week to help speed up his recovery, and the plan is for him to return in early May.
Hamilton has been riding a stationary bike and has seen the flexibility in his knee improve. He said that he could begin jogging in a pool next week.
“Yesterday was my best day,” Hamilton said. “I was sore when I got here, but after I did my work it got a lot better.”
▪ Right-hander Yu Darvish had his second bullpen session off a full mound, throwing 20 pitches to a catcher positioned in front of home plate. Among them were his four-seam fastball, cutter and changeup. Darvish will have one more session similar to Wednesday’s before the catcher moves behind the plate.
▪ Righty A.J. Griffin will throw a simulated game Thursday after getting through a bullpen session without any issues with his mechanics or tightness in his shoulder. He could pitch in a game this weekend.