09/04/11 6:53 PM ET
History narrowly missed by Rangers' system
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Beltre knocks No. 2,000 with single in sixth
BOSTON -- Adrian Beltre said he is not a big "numbers" guy, but he did hit a big number on Sunday afternoon.Beltre, in his third game back off the disabled list, lined a single to right off Red Sox starter John Lackey in the sixth inning for the 2,000th hit of his career. The hit came as Beltre was being used as the Rangers' designated hitter in an 11-4 victory over Boston. "It was just another hit," Beltre said. "I didn't give a lot [of thought] to it until reporters asked me this morning. I didn't remember I just needed one. It was nice to do it here, where I played last year, but I didn't give it a lot of thought." Beltre was more impressed that the Rangers took two of three from the Red Sox this weekend. His single was part of the Rangers' seven-run inning. "Just to come in here and win two of three is huge for us," Beltre said. "We knew the Red Sox are playing well, with good pitching and good offense, and we know we have a really key road trip, here and Tampa." Beltre's first hit came on June 24, 1998, in his first Major League game with the Dodgers. He had a second-inning double off of Angels pitcher Chuck Finley and went 2-for-5 that day in the Dodgers' 6-5 victory. Beltre said before the game he is not big on numbers. "I never have been -- why start now?" Beltre said. "It definitely means I've been in the game awhile. When I started my career, I never thought about that." The Rangers have Beltre under contract for five more years after this season. Once that is done, he could be approaching 3,000 hits. So the question is, does he have another 1,000 hits in him? "I don't know," Beltre said. "It will be tough. It's not something I'm thinking about or going to lose sleep over it." Beltre also has 298 home runs. There are only 83 players in Major League history who have 2,000 hits and 300 home runs. On that list, nine were third basemen: George Brett, Darrell Evans, Gary Gaetti, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews, Graig Nettles, Scott Rolen, Ron Santo and Mike Schmidt.
Hamilton makes effort to keep bats from flying
BOSTON -- Josh Hamilton keeps swinging, and the bats keep flying. Hamilton's habit of losing his grip on his bat and having them go flying off into the distance continues to be impressive.Hamilton tossed one on Saturday night that landed 18 rows in the stands behind the first-base dugout at Fenway Park. "What was cool was I looked back to see if the fans were paying attention, and it landed in two seats that were empty," Hamilton said. "I looked back a few minutes later and two people were sitting there. That's somebody who is looking out for me." No other Rangers player loses control of his bat more than Hamilton, but he has an explanation for it. "My middle finger on my right hand is not right," Hamilton said. "I hurt it my senior year [in high school]. I broke it and had surgery on it. I don't have full flexibility and extension on it. So when I try to get a little more extension on my swing because it's a changeup or something, it's hard to keep hold of the bat." He does try to prevent it from happening. "I use a lot of pine tar," Hamilton said. "I use sticky stuff under my batting gloves, put them on and put the pine tar on. It happens way more in Texas because it's so hot there." Hamilton does get his bats back. He sends somebody into the stands with another bat and asks them to trade out. The fans usually comply. "They're just happy to have something," Hamilton said.
Washington plans to DH Beltre vs. Tampa Bay
BOSTON -- Adrian Beltre has played third base in his first two games after coming off the disabled list. But manager Ron Washington used Beltre at designated hitter on Sunday in Boston and said he could play DH in at least a couple of games against Tampa Bay.The Rangers open a three-game series with the Rays on Monday at Tropicana Field, and Washington is not eager to have Beltre playing defense on the artificial turf. Beltre missed five weeks because of a strained left hamstring and is still not 100 percent. "It's good enough to play," Beltre said. "I'm going to DH him, maybe not all three games but at least a couple so he can hit," Washington said. Beltre is also going to remain in the fifth spot in the order for the time being. He was in the Rangers' cleanup spot before he got hurt. Washington wants him back in that spot soon, but right now is going to keep Michael Young there. "I do have plans to make the switch, but I want to make sure Adrian gets settled in," Washington said. "Adrian is our cleanup hitter, but I want to make sure he is comfortable before he does that again."
Josh Hamilton was picked off first base to end Saturday's game. The last Rangers' loss to end with a player being picked off base was also at Fenway Park. Jerry Browne was picked off second base by Wes Gardner in the top of the ninth in a 7-6 Boston win on Aug. 15, 1987. Nelson Cruz, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, has done some jogging on the treadmill and said he is experiencing significant improvement. Esteban German's home run in the ninth inning on Saturday was only the Rangers' second by a pinch-hitter in the last four years. Chris Davis had one on Sept. 10, 2010, against the Angels.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.