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  • MESA http://www.marlinsfanproshop.com/authentic-starlin-castro-jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Steve Pearce will start the season on the injured list for the Boston Red Sox.The 2018 World Series MVP exited an exhibition game last weekend due to discomfort in his left calf. Pearce, a right-handed batter, normally platoons with lefty-hitting Mitch Moreland at first base. But the Red Sox will begin defense of their championship Thursday in Seattle without Pearce.“We have to do it that way,” manager Alex Cora said Monday night. “It makes sense for us, it makes sense for him. He should be back sooner rather than later but he won’t be ready for Seattle, so why take a chance?”Sam Travis will likely make the team and take Pearce’s spot on the opening-day roster.“He’s been swinging the bat, he plays first, he’s a right-handed hitter,” Cora said. “It seems like we’re going to face a lot of lefties on the West Coast. Having a right-handed bat would help us out.”Pearce was acquired from Toronto in a trade last June and batted a combined .284 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 76 games with the Blue Jays and Red Sox last season. He was 4 for 12 (.333) with three homers, eight RBIs and a 1.167 OPS in the World Series victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Pearce became a free agent and re-signed with Boston for one year and $6.25 million.Boston nearly lost another player to a much more serious injury when pitcher Rick Porcello was hit in the head by a line drive during Monday night’s 3-2 exhibition loss to the Chicago Cubs.Willson Contreras hit a liner that deflected off Porcello’s head in the second inning. Porcello, however, was checked by an athletic trainer, threw a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game.Cora was doubtful at first about keeping Porcello in the game. The right-hander told the trainer to touch his head where the ball hit him.“He barked like a dog and scared the living whatever out of me,” said Cora, who jumped off the mound. “I told him, ‘Now I’m going to be on TV for the rest of my career for the wrong reasons.'”Porcello was able to laugh about the play after his outing.“It ricocheted,” he said. “I got up, I felt fine, I wasn’t wobbly or dizzy or anything like that. I was fine.”In his final tuneup for the regular season, Porcello gave up two runs and four hits over four innings, including a solo homer to opposing pitcher Cole Hamels in the third.“He’s tough,” Hamels said. “I don’t know where it hit him. We don’t have instant replay — and I’m glad we don’t so we didn’t have to relive it. He looked fine when he was coming off.”In other news, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will start Tuesday in the spring training finale against the Cubs. Pedroia was limited to three games last season after undergoing a microfracture procedure and cartilage replacement in his left knee in October 2017.The 35-year-old Pedroia hosted Red Sox players and coaches Sunday night at his home in the Phoenix area.“He’s in a good place,” Cora said. “I was joking with him because for that kid who played in Anaheim, in his first big league game in 2006 Justin Bour Jersey , I still remember he was 5-6, chubby. He hates that I say that but he was. To see the house he has, I’m like, ‘Wow. You did well, bro. What a story, you should write a book.’ It was amazing. Obviously, in this environment, you go to some nice houses. They should do that show again — ‘Cribs’ — and go to Pedroia’s.”How important would it be for the Red Sox to get a healthy Pedroia back?“It’s good,” Cora said. “Forget the player – for him to be happy, that’s the most important thing. Last year, he was great for us in the clubhouse, he was a leader, he was another coach. He still can play. You see him on a daily basis and he’s smiling a little more, he’s talking again, he’s loud. When he’s loud, he’s in a good place. We’re very happy with the progression.“Whenever he comes back, I know he’s going to contribute,” Cora said. “We can’t get too excited. We have to be patient. We have to be disciplined with this.”NOTES: The Red Sox plan to set the order of their rotation after David Price’s exhibition start Tuesday against the Cubs. Price might pitch one inning and that could be enough, Cora said. “He feels good right now,” the manager added. “If he feels like pitching one inning tomorrow is enough. That means he’ll probably pitch in Seattle early.” Jason O. Watson/Getty ImagesAdrian Beltre keeps hinting at retirement, which is completely understandable and completely unfortunate.Understandable, because Beltre is 39 years old and is again bothered by leg issues that sent him to the disabled list four times in the last two years. While he keeps saying he won't decide about 2019 until the 2018 season ends, the words "go home" and "goodbye" keep creeping into his interviews.Unfortunate, because even if Beltre is old by baseball standards, his spirit is still young by any standard. Whether it's his happy feet in the batter's box, his darts into the outfield when caught in a rundown or his shared laughs with umpires or opponents http://www.marlinsfanproshop.com/authentic-starlin-castro-jersey , no one in the game is quirkier.At a time when so many are saying baseball has become hard to watch, who is easier to watch than the Texas Rangers third baseman?You want to make baseball fun? Check out Beltre and Elvis Andrus, his Rangers sidekick."We're two grown men with a kid's soul," Andrus said.They play the game so professionally that no old-school traditionalist could complain. But they play it with enough eccentricity that on any given night they could be trending on social media.A routine pop-up turns into performance art on the left side of the Rangers infield, with both Beltre and Andrus setting up as if to catch it. Don't worry. One of them will get it. The other will go into a pantomime act and perhaps a display that convinces some on the internet there's real anger.Did you see the time Beltre took a ball Andrus thought was his, and Andrus responded by drawing a literal line in the dirt? Did you see the one where Andrus came a little close, and Beltre responded by pretending to throw the ball right at his teammate? Or the one where Beltre slapped Andrus away with his glove before making the catch?Beltre and Andrus have been Rangers teammates (and comic sidekicks) since 2011.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images"It's like the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball," said Dave Raymond, who chronicles it all as the Texas Rangers' television voice. "Half the time, I want our [producers] to roll out with 'Sweet Georgia Brown' going into the break. Adrian is Meadowlark Lemon, and Elvis is Curly Neal."No, Beltre insists. It's not the Globetrotters."What they do is show," he said.What those Globetrotters did was all show, with a little basketball mixed in. Meadowlark, remember, was the "Clown Prince of Basketball."Beltre is no clown. He's fun, he's quirky, but he's also a 21-year major leaguer with a resume that should send him to the Hall of Fame. He shows total respect for the game, and the game gives it right back. There may be no current player more respected by teammates and opponents alike."People need to know how hard he's worked on the fundamentals," said Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who was Beltre's manager in 2009 and 2010 with the Seattle Mariners. "This guy's one of the best players in the game."Fine, but people also need to know about the other things Beltre does, the ones MLB.com highlighted in a hilarious video that runs more than eight minutes.They need to see what Rangers general manager Jon Daniels witnesses every spring, when Beltre stands in the batter's box and calls balls and strikes himself. Or asks the home plate umpire to check with his colleague at first base to confirm Beltre's own check swing."No! No! No!" he'll yell after taking a pitch just off the plate."Every once in a while you get a young umpire who doesn't know him and looks in the dugout and glares," Daniels said.The umpires who know Beltre understand he's doing nothing to show them up. He never does. He never would."I always draw a line," he said.He learned where to draw that line early on in the big leagues Nick Wittgren Jersey , after he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 1998, in an era when rookies were expected to be seen and not heard.Look at a YouTube video of Beltre's first major league hit, and the first thing you notice is it's not in HD (HD broadcasts had only just begun that season). The second thing you see is that Beltre never cracks a smile, even as he pulls into second base with a run-scoring double.It took three or four years, he said, before he felt comfortable showing emotion. Little by little, he allowed his personality to come out.Even now, he turns it on and off, careful to understand the flow of the game and the feelings of a teammate or opponent.MLB MLBYo Adri谩n. 馃槀馃槀 4juFPwJBspWhen he struck out on an awkward swing early in an Aug. 7 game against former teammate Felix Hernandez, Beltre was more than willing to share a laugh with Hernandez as he walked back to the dugout. When he homered off Hernandez to make it 11-4 Rangers in the sixth inning, there were no smiles as he quietly and quickly circled the bases.Hernandez later texted Beltre asking why he hadn't made any kind of gesture. But Beltre wasn't going to kick an opponent who was down. There would be a response, but not right then."Next time, if it's close, I will," he promised.Beltre's celebrations can also go viral, in large part because he has a thing about being touched on the head. Most modern baseball celebrations involve just that, and it's wild to watch Beltre enjoying the moment while also trying hard to avoid any unwanted contact."I don't touch his head, ever," teammate Joey Gallo said. "I don't have enough time in. Elvis can get away with it."Andrus gets away with plenty. He's become the perfect foil for Beltre, and both players have benefited. While the Rangers sometimes worried early in Andrus' career that he didn't have the same on-off switch Beltre has, now they seem to operate in sync."We have fun, and that's when we do the best," Andrus said. "We really have a passion for the game, and that's what attracted me to baseball in the first place: to be able to do something for hours and hours and still have fun with it. That's what I love about this game."The pop-up show is what he and Beltre are best known for. Sometimes when they both line up with their gloves above their heads, even teammates and coaches can't tell for sure which one is about to catch the ball."I think that started in my second year," Andrus said. "I'm the shortstop Julio Urias Jersey , and I'm supposed to be in charge. But then you play with someone like him, and he wants to take some of those."They don't plan any of it out, Andrus insists. And no, they don't really get mad at each other."People always ask me that; if he's really mad," Andrus said."Sometimes Elvis is annoying," Beltre said, playing along with the storyline. But then he grinned."[Beltre] is never actually really mad at anyone," Gallo said. "He's fake-mad a lot."Baseball Bros BaseballBrosElvis Andrus will never stop messing with Adrian Beltr .1), as calculated by Baseball Reference.And first among laughs and smiles generated, as unofficially calculated by Bleacher Report. Has any player in the history of the game done more things that made you smile, grin or simply laugh out loud?Watch when a tight call goes against him, and you might see Beltre laughing with the umpire. Watch when he's in a rundown he knows he can't get out of. He might turn and run into the outfield or into the middle of the infield."Those 13-year-old moments," Rangers manager Jeff Banister calls them. "Those comic-relief moments. It's supposed to be fun. It's still a kid's game played by grown-ups."The bits of levity have been especially welcome this year. The Rangers have spent much of the season in last place in the American League West, stuck with a starting rotation that has seen them trailing after the third inning in 51 of their 72 losses.Beltre has still found a way to enjoy it."I don't think he's ever had a bad day at the ballpark," Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "He's ultra-fun. It's playful and fun, and it keeps guys from insanity."They know how fortunate they are to be around him, and how great it has been to watch him."It's a privilege for us to grow up with him," said 25-year-old Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar.They know it could be over soon if Beltre's body tells him this is time to call it a career. He has already said he wouldn't want to play for any team but the Rangers in 2019, but there's a possibility he won't even play for them.He deserves the chance to make that call. Everyone else just wants the chance to share a laugh with him one more time.Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. Stats are accurate as of Aug. 22 and provided by Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.