The Rangers have activated veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre, as had been expected. He’s starting and hitting cleanup in tonight’s lineup. Infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson was optioned to open a spot on the active roster.
This’ll represent the first action on the year for Beltre, the 38-year-old star. He excelled yet again last year, slashing .300/.358/.521 over 640 plate appearances while continuing to play excellent defense at the hot corner. Beltre is owed $36MM in total for this year and next under the extension he signed with the Rangers last April.
Beltre was held out until now, though, with ongoing calf issues that took longer than expected to resolve. He hasn’t played in less than 111 games since way back in 1998, when Beltre debuted at 19 years of age. He has averaged 147 games per year ever since.
In Beltre’s stead, long-time top prospect Joey Gallo had an extended opportunity and perhaps earned a lengthier run at the MLB level. While his batting average (.198) and on-base percentage (.305) leave plenty to be desired, Gallo has launched 15 home runs and carries a .525 slugging percentage through fifty games of action.
For tonight, Gallo is sliding over to first base, though that’s due in part to a minor injury issue for incumbent first bagger Mike Napoli (per Anthony Andro, on Twitter). It’s not yet known just how the team will handle things in the long run, though. Gallo has spent some time in the outfield in the past and might appear there, too, particularly while Carlos Gomez is on the DL. The DH slot would also be an option, though Shin-Soo Choo has commanded the bulk of the time there thus far.