Some ramifications of Adrian Beltre's injury

July, 23, 2011
7/23/11
4:25
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Now that we know Adrian Beltre has a Grade I strain and that the club expects him to miss 2 to 3 weeks, let's take a look at some of the ripple effects of this injury:

* Manager Ron Washington said Michael Young and Chris Davis will play third base in Beltre's absense. Washington did not say it would be 50-50 or by matchups, just when he feels like getting one or the other in there. Davis has been playing third base most of this season in the minors and admitted that he's played so much of it that he feels just as comfortable, if not more so, at third base than first. Davis is batting eighth and is the starting third baseman today. Young is ready to play third base and is prepared to take some more early work there to brush up but is not concerned about getting more time at third. He played there the past two seasons before Beltre was signed in the offseason.

* Young is batting cleanup today and is likely to remain there through Beltre's DL stint. The 34-year-old has played 31 games in the fourth spot this season and is batting .280 in 125 cleanup at-bats. "Where I am in the order doesn't matter," Young said. "I don't think about if I'm second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth when I go up there. I try to do what I need to in each at-bat."

* The lineup change means Young is now protecting Josh Hamilton. Young has been the club's most consistent hitter this season, so it may not change much for Hamilton. Teams did intentionally walk Hamilton some to get to Beltre (and Beltre had a tendency to make them pay at times, too). They may not try that much with Young behind Hamilton.

* The injury could alter the Rangers' trade deadline plans in that Davis was considered a versatile piece they could deal. With Young still on the roster, that doesn't mean Davis won't be traded. But his value to the Rangers just went up now that Beltre is out for a while.

* Davis played some left field in the minors and Washington said the reports were good enough that he would put Davis in there for a game or two if needed. Davis can also play first base, so he gives Washington versatility.

* Unlike Davis' last stint in the big leagues, he's likely to get at-bats every day now. It's a chance to get into a rhythm and see if he can start producing more consistently at the plate like he was doing in the minors. More on Davis on the website later.

* Clearly, this hurts the club's defense. Beltre was second on the team with a 3.6 WAR (wins above replacement) and made the entire infield defense better. Young and Davis can handle the position, but it won't be the same.

* Washington stressed he doesn't want his players thinking about "stepping up" and doing too much. He wants them to stay strong mentally and stay within themselves. The fact that they dealt with the loss of Hamilton for nearly six weeks and Nelson Cruz during part of that time as well might help them deal with it better than they would have otherwise.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.325 18 71 74
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 74
OPSA. Beltre .880
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182