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Beltre's Opening Day status in doubt

But Rangers slugger says DL stint is 'last resort'
March 29, 2017

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are five days away from Opening Day, and their best player is still not in the lineup.Adrian Beltre remains sidelined with tightness in his right calf muscle. He had an MRI exam on Monday, and it revealed he does not have a significant strain. But

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers are five days away from Opening Day, and their best player is still not in the lineup.
Adrian Beltre remains sidelined with tightness in his right calf muscle. He had an MRI exam on Monday, and it revealed he does not have a significant strain. But the third baseman hasn't played since coming out of Sunday's game against the Dodgers after just one plate appearance.
Beltre right now is limited to throwing and hitting in a cage. He will get treatment on Thursday in Arlington, and then the Rangers will make a decision if he's ready to play in the exhibition games against the Royals on Friday and Saturday.
"Obviously you don't want to go into the season hurt," Beltre said. "I don't mind the discomfort, but I don't want to blow it up. Hopefully it calms down, I can play a game or two before the season and then nurse it for 2-3 weeks until I'm 100 percent."
The Rangers open the regular season on Monday against the Indians.
"In our heads and Adrian's head, he'll be ready Monday night," assistant general manager Mike Daly said. "We'll see what happens in the next few days, but that's where we are right now. We still have time."
Beltre was limited early in camp with a strained left calf and this issue is not considered as serious. If the Rangers put him on the 10-day disabled list, they could backdate it into Spring Training so he would miss only the first five games of the season and be activated April 9.
"That's not an option right now," Beltre said. "That's a last resort. My mindset is to start the season until I find out something different."

The biggest concern is what happens when Beltre tries to run. He hasn't tried to push the muscle that far yet. Beltre has played in just eight games for the Rangers this spring and is 0-for-12 at the plate. He was 1-for-15 playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
"Obviously, if you look back at the history of his Spring Training, his sweet spot is 40-45 at-bats," manager Jeff Banister said. "So the time on the field has not been optimal. This is a highly decorated veteran who knows himself better than any of us. He is hard-working ... probably not the best scenario as far as workload."
Beltre's situation keeps Texas from finalizing its Opening Day roster. But even if Beltre is ready on Opening Day, the Rangers will likely go with a four-man bench to make sure they are covered.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.