April 12: Beltre’s MRI revealed a new calf strain (Grade 1), writes Wilson. The Rangers plan to proceed with caution, and it’s possible that Beltre could be out of action into the month of May, Wilson adds. Evan Grant notes that Beltre is likely to be sidelined at least another two weeks, adding that this is the third separate calf injury that Beltre has incurred since mid-February.
Beltre tells reporters that the new strain in his calf is in a different location than the first one by which he was plagued. Manager Jeff Banister tells reporters that the team isn’t putting any timetable on Beltre’s recovery for now. Notably, Banister also added that there won’t be a platoon at third base in his absence; Gallo will get the opportunity to play regularly (via Wilson): “He has earned the opportunity to play. The qualifier to that is there are going to be days, like everybody else, that’s he’s going to need a day.”
April 11: Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has suffered a setback in his rehab from a calf injury, Beltre himself told reporters (Twitter links via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). Beltre felt something while running this past Saturday and has already undergone a new MRI to evaluate the issue. “Something isn’t right,” Beltre said (via Grant). “It’s not just tightness.”
[Related: Texas Rangers Depth Chart]
Obviously, that’s an ominous quote from Beltre, who suffered the calf issue late in Spring Training and opened the season on the disabled list. While the team was originally hopeful that the injury wouldn’t last much longer than the 10-day minimum on the new disabled list, today’s news indicates that’s no longer a likely outcome.
Any significant absence for Beltre would be a substantial blow to the Rangers, who already have Andrew Cashner, Jake Diekman, Tyson Ross and Chi Chi Gonzalez on the disabled list. Though Beltre turned 38 a few days ago, he continued to play at an elite level through the 2016 campaign, hitting .300/.358/.521 with 32 homers and excellent glovework at third base last year.
Thus far in 2017, the Rangers have entrusted third base to Joey Gallo in Beltre’s absence. Long one of the top-rated prospects in the game, Gallo’s prodigious power makes him an intriguing and potentially excellent replacement for Beltre, though his struggles in making contact still loom large. The 23-year-old has struck out in 48 percent of his 176 Major League plate appearances, and he whiffed at nearly a 35 percent clip in Triple-A last year. Though Gallo has homered twice through his first 23 plate appearances of the season, he’s also punched out nine times. To this point, he’s hitting .200/.304/.500 in that tiny sample of work.