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Sunday, June 19, 2011
Notes: Beltre plays through balky hamstring

By Richard Durrett

ATLANTA -- Rangers manager Ron Washington hustled out to check on third baseman Adrian Beltre late in Saturday's game after the third baseman stopped awkwardly after rounding first on an RBI single in the 10th inning.

"He said, 'I told you to quit looking at me,'" Washington said. "He says that to me all the time. So I knew he was fine. He plays through that stuff. Something is always bothering Beltre."

Indeed, it's Beltre's left hamstring that's giving him some problems right now, though he says it's minor. He says it's a yearly occurrence and believes that playing on wet surfaces where dirt builds up on his cleats has put extra stress on it.

"I've learned how to deal with it," Beltre said. "It's been there the last couple of weeks. I just deal with it."

It hasn't stopped Beltre from playing every day or from making some spectacular plays in the field. The latest example was Friday night, when he ran as hard as he could down the left-field line and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a full sprint. He caught the ball barely in foul territory with his back to the plate, ending Eric Hinske's at-bat and helping snuff out any Braves hope for a rally.

"I didn't think I was going to get there," Beltre said. "I saw that Nelson [Cruz] wasn't close, so I had to try to get it. I ran has hard as I could and just stuck my glove out and it went in there. I thought about just flipping the ball to Nelson and keep running."

Beltre is hitting .260 on the season with 12 homers and 51 RBIs. He's been one of the better offensive players in the road trip, hittting .278 (10-for-36) with two doubles and six RBIs. The single in the 10th inning on Saturday was his fourth game-winning RBI of the season.

Other notes:

* RHP Yoshinori Tateyama is becoming a reliable bullpen piece for Washington, especially against right-handers. Washington has used him late in tight games the past two games and Tateyama has responded. Rigthies are hitting just .172, but lefties are hitting .269. Washington said Tateyama will have to face lefties at various points based on the lineup, though he wants to keep him mainly as a situational righty. (More on Tateyama later on the Rangers blog)

* LHP Matt Harrison said his arm feels fine today, he's just tired. Harrison said most of his family stayed through the rain delay, so they saw him come back out after the 2-hour, 16-minute break and pitch a solid 6 1/3 innings. He got a no-decision in the Rangers' win.

"It didn't feel like it was two hours," Harrison said. "I just kept throwing. I was surprised my velocity was still there, but maybe that's the humidity down here. I felt fine."

* Washington wants to keep David Murphy engaged, so he's got him in the lineup today and Mitch Moreland gets a break. "I hope we can get his bat going," Washington said. "It's not as consistent as we'd like. I want to play him once a series."

* Several players talked about Rory McIroy this morning and his large lead at the U.S. Open as they watched the highlights on ESPN. Most of them believe he'll finish things off with his first major title today. Just thought I'd pass that along.