Today, barring any unforseen circumstances -- the club has had its fair share of those in 2014 -- the Texas Rangers will welcome Adrian Beltre back into the lineup.
While Kevin Kouzmanoff has filled in admirably in Beltre's absense, the return comes at the perfect time, as it appears that Kouzmanoff will miss at least some time with what appears to be a stiff lower back. Regardless, Beltre's addition to the defensive side will be a definite addition, and if he has his bat going, the lineup will be stronger.
That isn't to discount the contributions of Kouzmanoff over the last two weeks. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that without his production, the Rangers wouldn't be 14-8. Beltre, in his own right, has the ability to carry the offense for stretches as well, and he's proven that over the past few seasons.
It remains to be seen if Washington will shift the lineup back to his season-opening preference, which had Prince Fielder batting 3rd and Beltre hitting 4th. If getting Beltre's protection back in front of Fielder manages to get the Rangers first baseman hot, I'm all for it. At the same time, do you really mess with what's been working? I suspect that process will win over results here, and we'll see Fielder shifted back up to the 3rd spot.
The Rangers will get another shot at Roenis Elias, who baffled the Rangers lineup on April 14 in Texas. That assignment figures to get Michael Choice a start, which may happen anyways if Shin-Soo Choo is unable to go with a sore ankle.
In my mind, you let Choo sit for another day if he's still sore. As far as backup outfielders go, you could certainly do much worse than Choice, although if the Rangers choose to keep both Choo and Kouzmanoff off of the DL, the bench might be seriously thin.
Whatever the case, Adrian Beltre's return figures to give a long-term boost to the lineup, and the defensive upgrade he could represent might be worth more than his bat at this point.
Happy Adrian Beltre day, everyone.