The Texas Rangers have optioned prospect Willie Calhoun to the minors, ending his bid to be their Opening Day starter in left field.
Calhoun, 23, had been a second baseman before being traded to Texas in the deal that sent Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. Rangers manager Jeff Banister told reporters Tuesday that the organization wants Calhoun to get more outfield work in the minors.
“I think they’ve gotten the best of us over the past year or two years. I think (on Tuesday) we don’t look at it as a Battle of Alberta game. We look at this as a must-win game for us. It’s an important game for us where we’re at in the standings right now.”
Although they’re well outside of the playoff picture, the Oilers have different motivating factors for dousing the Flames.
“It’s a lot of pride from the fans,” defenseman Adam Larsson said. “For the players, it’s something we will always remember with the Battle of Alberta … even going into next season. If we can make them miss the playoffs that’s great, but we’re focusing on our own game. We want to finish strong personally and we want to finish strong as a team.”
ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported on Saturday that Leonard and the Spurs were targeting Thursday’s game if he continued to progress in his recovery from a quadriceps injury that has caused him to miss all but nine games this season.
A source told Shelburne that Leonard’s target date has always been “mid March,” suggesting that his return to the court will be more likely next week, as the Spurs have home games Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would not put a timetable on Leonard’s return, saying on Monday that he would speak with Leonard on Tuesday to evaluate the situation. Leonard and Cheap Bike Jerseys Popovich touched base again Tuesday; the two have remained in daily contact, with the forward Cheap China NFL Jerseys inching closer to a possible return.
Popovich revealed Tuesday that the next step rests with Leonard’s doctors.