Friday, September 21, 2012
Adrian Beltre shows guts in clutch fashion
By Blair Angulo
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adrian Beltre was perhaps the only player in the Texas Rangers clubhouse that didn't think what he did Thursday night was dramatic.
"I'm supposed to be doing stuff like that," he said, shrugging off his clutch go-ahead two-run shot in the ninth that propelled the Rangers to an important series win against the Los Angeles Angels.
Under the circumstances, though, Beltre's majestic blast off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri was monumental. It was heroic. It was uplifting.
Josh Hamilton, who hasn't played the last three games because of sinus and vision problems, jokes around with teammates prior to Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
"It was something an outstanding player does, and that's what Adrian is," winning pitcher Yu Darvish said through an interpreter.
That Beltre even played was a minor miracle. After missing Wednesday's game with intestinal issues, he still appeared to be in discomfort while speaking to reporters in the clubhouse prior to batting practice. He took the field and hit a handful of home runs off manager Ron Washington, and then talked his way into the Rangers lineup.
Washington scratched his original batting order, inserting Beltre in the cleanup spot as the designated hitter.
Beltre, despite not feeling 100 percent, thanked Washington for believing in him.
"He has a passion for the game and doesn't want to let his teammates down," Washington said. "He just loves the game of baseball. ... He told me he could play and he was right."
Beltre was scheduled to stay in the Los Angeles area Friday morning to be examined by a gastrointestinal specialist. He was hopeful he could rejoin the team in Seattle before the start of a weekend series against the Mariners.
"He's a great player, obviously, but also a great teammate," said Michael Young, who led off the ninth with a sharp single to set up the 3-1 victory.
Beltre had been hitless with a strikeout in two previous at-bats against Frieri. He hammered a hanging breaking ball, sending it well beyond the left-field fence to send the Texas dugout into a frenzy.
"He's a special player, special professional, special teammate," Washington said. "Any adjective you can find, that's exactly what he is."
Beltre, again, shrugged it all off.
"We knew one hit was going to be the difference," he said. "I was lucky enough to be in a position to help."