ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers were right not to take Adrian Beltre's advice this weekend. The third baseman wanted to play Tuesday despite his Grade 1 quad strain, believing he could manage it just like he has his balky hamstrings the past few years.
Perhaps he could manage it. But it wasn't worth taking the risk -- at least not in April with so much of the season left.
"Obviously the medical staff and the front office thought it was best," Beltre said. "It’s out of my hands. I have no say over that. I was ready to play tomorrow. But obviously it’s not going to happen."
And it shouldn't. The club, likely in deference to Beltre's incredible toughness, gave him a few days to see how it felt before making the decision. But in the end, the Rangers can't risk losing their productive cleanup hitter, Gold Glove third baseman and a huge leader for any more than two weeks. It's better to sit Beltre now and get the quad feeling as close to normal as it can than to run him out there and risk turning that strain into something that relegates him to the bench for a month or more.
“He probably wasn't a realistic option until late this week or weekend,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “So the decision really came down to 6 or 7 games. It's not a risk we wanted to take at this point of the season, putting him out there compromised, and with cool weather too. I hate being without him, but we didn't want to tempt fate and risk tacking on a much longer period of time. We're hoping the extra week of rehab pays dividends."
Beltre's personality is such that he wants to play through anything if he can. And to his immense credit, he has. Beltre was huge down the stretch in 2012, crushing the Angels one night with a homer and game-winning hit despite serious pain as scar tissue rubbed up against his abdomen.
But the season is just beginning and with every AL West team dealing with struggles and injuries, it's going to stay bunched up. Let Beltre heal as much as he can and see if he can manage his body to make it through the rest of the season. The Rangers will need him as healthy as he can be in August and September.
The fact that Beltre doesn't like it isn't a bad thing. It once again shows his desire to play and his competitive spirit. But the Rangers made the right call here. They need that competitive spirit, gold glove and big bat on the field as the pressure mounts down the stretch. Resting him now could help achieve that.