SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Omar Beltre has suffered another setback in his quest to establish himself as a Major League pitcher. The Rangers revealed on Wednesday that Beltre has spinal stenosis, a genetic disorder that is described as an abnormal narrowing of the spine. While cases have been found in football and other athletic endeavors, putting players at long-term health risk, the Rangers have found no other baseball player who has had this issue, so they don't know how long Beltre will be out. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday and Beltre will likely need 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation before he can resume baseball activities. After that, the Rangers have no idea how long Beltre will need before he can be pitching again.
"It's a condition known more in older people," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "It is uncharted waters for a professional [baseball] athlete." Beltre made two starts for the Rangers and pitched in 24 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City last season after serving a five-year banishment in the Dominican Republic for his role in a visa fraud scandal. His career was also derailed prior to that by Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.