ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mark Lowe will never forget Adrian Beltre's reaction one day a few years ago in Seattle when he was told one of the Mariners' trainers took him out of the lineup.
"I remember he got really upset and pulled the trainer aside in the office and said, 'Don't ever take me out of the lineup again. If I need a day, I'll take a day myself. Don't sit here and pull me out.'"
It's the kind of toughness that has become just as much a part of Beltre's baseball resume as his spectacular defensive play or penchant for clutch hits. All of it has been on display in 2012 as Beltre has become one extremely valuable player for the Texas Rangers. He may not win the AL MVP after Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout put up impressive numbers and the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown.
But there's no denying how important he is on and off the field as the Rangers attempt to return to the World Series -- and win it this time.
"He does everything for us," manager Ron Washington said. "The only thing he cares about is winning and doing whatever he has to do to help us win games."
That was even more evident in the final few weeks of the regular season.
Beltre had intestinal issues (scar tissue rubbing against him from a previous surgery) that were clearly bothering him as he tried to run and swing. But he pushed through it. After missing one game in Anaheim during the Rangers' final road series, Beltre was back in the next day despite the pain. He hit a big, gut-check home run late to help the Rangers get a victory and take two of three games from the Angels.
A few days later, Beltre strained his abdomen swinging his bat on a double early in the first of seven games against the A's to finish the season. He grimaced and held his stomach several times but would not come out. He ended up hitting the tying two-run homer in the seventh inning and the game-winning RBI single in the ninth to give his team a dramatic walk-off victory.