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Beltre's stats strong despite missed time

9/22/2011

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Adrian Beltre doesn't seem interested in playing the "what if" game. The third baseman missed 35 games with a strained left hamstring and yet is still putting up solid numbers.

He is batting .290 with 28 homers and 97 RBIs. To think that he's approaching a 30-homer, 100-RBI season despite all the missed games is impressive.

"Things happen for a reason," Beltre said about not being able to stay healthy the whole season. "I'm not happy I got hurt. I hate being on the bench. But at the same time, the team didn't miss a beat. I would want to play 160 games, but it didn't happen. I can't change that."

What he can do is try to take advantage of the times that he is in the lineup. And since he returned on Sept. 1, he's been crushing the ball. Going into Thursday's game, Beltre has hit safely in 17 of 18 games (14 at third base and four as DH) and was hitting .365 (27-for-74) with eight homers and 21 RBIs this month. He leads the majors in RBIs and is tied for the lead in homers in September.

"The first four or five games, I was getting there," Beltre said. "Then I got my timing back and started seeing the ball better and making good contact more consistently."

He had also hit eight homers in his last nine games going into Wednesday. He was the first Ranger to do that since Rafael Palmeiro on Aug. 18 to 27, 1999.

"I'm seeing pitches well," Beltre said. "Right now I'm trying to make solid contact, and I'm doing that and the ball is going out of the ballpark. I hope I can do that for the next two weeks or so or whatever we have left."

Beltre has eclipsed 2,000 hits and 300 career homers since returning from the injury and is just the 13th active player to that in a career.

The hamstring certainly hasn't impacted his defense. He has the second-best fielding percentage of any third baseman in the AL and seems to make a highlight-reel play every other game.

Beltre said he feels like he's playing in a low-pressure environment thanks to the talent level around him.

"It's nice to know you don't have to be the guy," Beltre said. "In this lineup, you are one of the guys. It's easier for the hitter to come and be yourself and contribute. It's a solid lineup first through nine. Offensively, it's easier to hit knowing that."