Adrian Beltre has made it very clear to Ron Washington that when he asks to be in the lineup, he needs to be in the lineup. It probably has not taken much arm twisting, but twice over the past week Beltre has had to go into Washington's office and asked to be put in the lineup for the Texas Rangers. It is unclear if that has been a request or a demand, but it is fair to say that he does not like being out of the lineup for any reason.
Washington has had good reason to keep Beltre out of the lineup. Last week he had to leave a game against the Indians with a strained shoulder and then was out of the lineup the following day even though he had a clear MRI. He would eventually work himself into the lineup, but that was not until he had worked his way into Washington's office and made his request known. He convinced Washington that even with a strained shoulder, he could at least swing the bat and Washington responded by putting him in as the designated hitter.
Beltre once again was out of the lineup this week as he missed the second game of the Rangers' series with the Angels with intestinal issues. He was out of the lineup for the second day in a row on Thursday, but once again he convinced Washington to pencil him in the lineup as the designated hitter. This time Beltre needed a successful round of batting practice to convince Washington, but it is fair to say that he was able do change his mind once again.
It is always a pleasant sight when Beltre is at the hot corner, but day by day it becomes more apparent that he is the leader of this team. Any day with him in the lineup is better than a day without him and that does not matter where it is. If Beltre comes knocking and says he can play, he is going to be in the lineup without many questions asked.
There has been much discussion recently about Beltre and Josh Hamilton. Much of that has centered around their MVP caliber seasons, but recently a spotlight has been placed upon both of them as they have needed to miss some time for various reasons. Hamilton has received some undue criticism after having to leave Tuesday night's game in Anaheim with blurry vision, which he believed was due to sinus issues. He has yet to return to the lineup and the cause of his vision issues is unclear. What is clear is that both Hamilton and Beltre are important to this club and they would not be where they are without both of them.
While some of the criticism of Hamilton is unfair, it does not take away from the fact that this is Adrian Beltre's team. His presence is very clear and he impacts the roster from top to bottom. Offensively, defensively and in the clubhouse he is as important as anyone on this club and that is the reason that Washington will not hesitate to play him, even if he is not 100 percent.
When Beltre worked his way into the lineup last week against the Indians, he responded with a two hit performance, scoring two runs. He had not impacted Thursday's game much until the top of the ninth inning. Then, with the game tied 1-1, Beltre connected on a two-run shot that scored himself and Michael Young who had led the inning off with a single. It gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth. Yu Darvish had turned in a spectacular outing, allowing one run in eight innings of work and displaying once again the reason the Rangers went out and got him in the offseason.
The Rangers were able to come away with the victory, keep their lead over the Athletics at four games and push the Angels 8 1/2 gams back in the West. It might be interesting to know how this one would have turned out if Beltre had not had that conversation with Washington, but I am glad to know we don't have to find out.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.
- Sports & Recreation
- Adrian Beltre
- Ron Washington