It’s a month away from Opening Day for the 2011 MLB season and only a couple of weeks (if that) into Spring Training and newly signed third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers has already been injured. While it’s not a serious injury – only a strain to his calf muscle – it is still something to talk about. His injury is going to keep him off the field from 10 to 14 days, but should be no more than that.
With Beltre on the sidelines, who is playing third base? Well, former third baseman Michael Young of course. This simply proves how valuable Young is to the club and organization as he is able to step up and fill in for Beltre at third base while he is off the field and until his full recovery from his calf muscle.
While Ian Kinsler has yet to be injured this year in Spring Training as he was early on in camp last year, the year is still very, very young. Kinsler could likely – but not definitely – become injured at some point during the season since he has at least once every season in the past five years. Young has played second base before, which was actually his original position, and would have no problem stepping in should Kinsler become injured at some point during the season.
While Elvis Andrus, shortstop for the Rangers, hasn’t had any lengthy stints on the disabled list, he is very young and has only played two full seasons in the Major Leagues. He is a strong player, but that doesn’t mean that injury won’t find him and bring him down. While no one is hoping injury catches up to Andrus, the possibility still looms in the air. However, the good thing is that if it happens, Young is right there to take his spot since he has played shortstop for the Rangers. In fact, he gave up his position at shortstop and moved to third base – reluctantly at first just as with the move from third base to DH and super utility infielder – in order to make room for Elvis.
Looking over at first base, a place that Young isn’t as comfortable with, Mitch Moreland has played just 62 career games and is still young and new. He is competing to be the Rangers’ starting first baseman and if he is able to secure this but find that it is too much to handle early on in the season, Washington can put Young there to give Moreland a little bit of R&R. Something that fans may seem throughout the seasons is the switching of Moreland and Young (should Moreland win starting position) between RHP’s and LHP’s.
Injuries are inevitable, but cannot be predicted. The infield looks good for the Rangers and with the club having Young with the ability to play virtually any infield position, there is a second option every single day should something come up. Young can be penciled in immediately and without uncertainty should an injury occur to Moreland (or first baseman), Kinsler, Andrus or Beltre.
Obviously, Michael Young is a valuable asset for the Texas Rangers with his proven versatility on the field, but whether or not they see it yet is uncertain. The Rangers need to do everything they can to make Young happy – although he is showing no signs of unhappiness. He reported to camp on time and despite having to leave for a few days due to personal family reasons, he is showing the same support and gratitude that he always has towards his teammates and the entire Rangers organization.