Rangers’ Beltre leaves playoff game with stiff back
TORONTO (AP) Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre left Thursday’s AL Division Series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays in tears after hurting his back on a slide.
Beltre received an anti-inflammatory shot during the Rangers’ 5-3 win. After going for tests at a hospital, Beltre returned to the clubhouse about an hour after the game, walking gingerly. An MRI confirmed Beltre had a strained back.
”We haven’t ruled him out of tomorrow’s game,” general manager Jon Daniels said. ”It doesn’t appear to be a more than a back strain. He’s still pretty sore.”
Texas will have Joey Gallo and Ed Lucas travel from its Arizona Fall League team in case Beltre needs to be removed from the roster, a decision that also would rule Beltre out of the AL Championship Series.
”That would be the last option. The news would have to be worse than it is right now for us to consider that,” Daniels said.
Daniels said Beltre was hurt during a slide into second base as Prince Fielder hit into an inning-ending double play in the first.
Beltre could hardly run to first base after hitting an RBI single in the third and received attention from a trainer at first base. After Fielder’s inning-ending groundout, Beltre tried jogging to his position at third base but came out of the game, in obvious pain. Beltre appeared to be wiping away tears as he was helped off the field and into the dugout. He was replaced by Hanser Alberto.
”We had to talk him into coming out,” teammate Josh Hamilton said. ”It says a lot about him and what kind of player he is and what kind of man he is. For him to get emotional like that shows how much he cares about the game, his teammates and the organization.”
Hamilton said Beltre is a huge part of the team and will be missed if he has to miss any time.
”We told him take it on in and get it right because we need you,” Hamilton said. ”It’s different when your teammates are telling you. We told him we had his back.”
Beltre hit .287 with 18 homers and 87 RBIs this season. His two-out single in the third gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead over David Price and the Blue Jays.
”This guy is playing with a half dozen things that any one of them would keep most guys out,” Daniels said.