Trying to make roster, Profar to skip Classic
Beltre also out for at least the first round with calf injury
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Infielder Jurickson Profar has told the Rangers that he is not going to play in the World Baseball Classic. Third baseman Adrian Beltre is also pulling out of the first round because of a slightly strained right calf muscle.
Profar, a native of Curacao, is on the provisional roster for the Netherlands but has decided to stay in camp because he wants to make the Opening Day roster as a utility player.
"It's a pretty unique situation and a tough decision," general manager Jon Daniels said Monday morning. "We left the decision up to him. He understands the landscape and the situation. He communicated to us he wants to put himself in the best position to make the club. This is something he wrestled with.
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"We're going to let it play out over the course of the spring. We didn't want to pressure him. He made the call on his own."
The Rangers have a set infield of Beltre at third, Elvis Andrus at short, Ian Kinsler at second and Mitch Moreland at first. Profar's best chance to make the team is as a utility player, but the Rangers want to make sure it is in a meaningful role. They don't want their top Minor League prospect sitting on the bench.
"He's got to compete," Daniels said. "Obviously injuries, trades you can't foresee could alter the landscape, but as we sit right now, he's competing for a bench role. It would have to be more meaningful than the traditional bench role to make sense for him."
The Rangers have not ruled out adding another utility player, either by trade or free agency. Jeff Baker is a veteran who can play multiple positions but has never played shortstop. Leury Garcia is a another rookie who has never played in the Major Leagues but is an accomplished shortstop.
Beltre was planning to play for the Dominican Republic, but has decided to back out after "tweaking" his right calf muscle during early workouts. The Rangers don't believe it's serious but Beltre does not want to push it this early in Spring Training.
"If there was a doubleheader today, he would be in both ends of it," Daniels said. "From the standpoint of how early we are in Spring Training, he feels, and the medical staff feels, it would be prudent to be cautious and not play in the first round of the WBC. He's going to leave it open if the Dominican club advances, he could rejoin. But right now we're going to take it slow and not push it."
Beltre has had to go cautiously early in his two previous Spring Trainings because of concerns about his legs. The calf was a problem two years ago.
"It's been sore for a while, since I've been working out at home," Beltre said. "I came here and it's still sore and we wanted to make sure what it was. There's still some inflammation that I have there but nothing serious. If this were the regular season I'd be playing right now.
"We're going to see how it goes the next couple of days, couple of weeks. If I'm good to go by the second round I can join my team. If I don't feel right or they don't need me, I'm not going to go. I'm not concerned about it. It just makes sense. When we start playing games I want to be at 100 percent."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.