Hold your breath. Seriously, just keep holding it.
One of the worst possible injury scenarios has the potential of playing out before our eyes, as Adrian Beltre left last night's game in Boston due to tightness in his left quadriceps muscle. Apparently, the issue is feared to be serious enough in order to send Beltre back to Arlington to be examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister.
Beltre has a long history of leg issues and injuries, but has found ways to manage them and continue playing for most of the past two seasons. It's likely that with the scar tissue, Beltre will always deal with soreness in his legs, and without a cautious approach, will always be one false move away from a trip to the DL.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Beltre will head to the DL, my guess is that, at the very least, we won't see Beltre in the lineup until next week. However, I also won't be terribly surprised if we're looking a scenario in which, this early in the season, the Rangers go ahead and have Beltre sit for awhile as opposed to trying to manage and play through the soreness.
This comes from absolutely no medical basis whatsoever -- I'd like to make that perfectly clear up front -- but on the young season, Beltre hasn't exactly looked like himself at 3rd base yet, and I'm inclined to wonder if this is an issue that has been stewing since the season started, and likely before. I wonder if perhaps it flared up in the cool Boston weather.
Again, it's entirely possible that the Rangers wanted to get Beltre back to a warmer climate, and this will be a non-issue in 24-48 hours. However, given the way Spring Training progressed, I'm more prepared to consider something a bit more serious, even if the approach ends up being based out of caution.
If Beltre spends time on the DL, Kevin Kouzmanoff would likely be called up from AAA Round Rock. Kouzmanoff was held out of the 2nd half of a double-header last night after news of Beltre's injury broke, so there's that if you're inclined to speculate.
Kouzmanoff has a career .720 OPS, so he would definitely represent something of a regression in the lineup in Beltre's absence. Of course, having not played at the Major League level since 2011, it remains to be seen how well Kouzmanoff will be able to integrate himself, despite having a strong Spring.
At the end of the day, the hope would be that Beltre won't actually require a DL stint, but perhaps a few days off would help the situation. Regardless, it's time to start praying that we see Beltre back in the lineup sooner rather than later.