Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Adrian Beltre has friendly rivalry with King Felix
By Master Tesfatsion
SEATTLE -- Adrian Beltre received a text message Tuesday morning from Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. And yes, you guessed it, they were still talking trash to each other the day after Hernandez pitched a one-run gem against the Rangers on Monday.
Beltre and Hernandez practically have their own language when it comes to trash talking. While Beltre was at third base in the bottom of the eighth, he was exchanging signals with Hernandez in the Mariners dugout. It lasted nearly the entire half inning.
"We both started," Beltre said. "It’s on and it’s been on. It’s on weeks before, a month before, before and right after the game. It’s always on."
Beltre pretended to spit on the ground, which he said meant the two were discussing Hernandez's changeup.
"I always tell him he’s going to try and strike me out with his changeup and I’m going to spit on that thing," Beltre said. "It’s not that good."
The two were teammates in Seattle from 2005-09 and are now in their second season as division rivals. Beltre said he yelled during his entire trot around the bases after he took King Felix deep last season. Hernandez took it like a man, as Beltre described. Hernandez said he was going to dance on the mound if he struck out Beltre, but he didn't get the opportunity Monday.
"Hopefully it won't happen," Beltre laughed.
Beltre said he doesn't have quite the relationship, or friendly rivalry, with anyone in the league like he has with Hernandez. He watched Hernandez develop as a 19-year-old pitcher and helped show him the ropes in the majors.
"I saw a lot of myself in him when he came up and I did everything I could to make sure he stands out," Beltre said. "He's one of those guys that's a hard worker, too, and you can tell where he's at now. He's a guy that understands and wants to be one of the best and feels he's one of the best."
Beltre said Hernandez has shown in the last five years that he's at least a top-5, maybe even top-3, pitcher in baseball despite the lack of run support he receives.
"From the outside looking in, it looks like a waste that a player of his caliber on a team that's not really helping him but he grew up here and likes it here," Beltre said. "Personally, I would like to see that team get better and get the opportunity to win something. Or for him to go somewhere else where he's going to see everything that he put into the game and accomplish something like get in the playoffs or go to the World Series or win a World Series. That's for me personally because I'm a good friend and I really love him, I would like to see that."