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Thursday, February 27, 2014
Is Beltre a cat or bear? Ask Tony Fernandez

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- All Adrian Beltre wanted was one last ground ball before moving on to the batting cages. And Tony Fernandez couldn't seem to hit him one.

After Fernandez had pounded ball after ball into the ground as Beltre worked on his feet and hands -- something he does constantly in spring training and during the season -- and it was Fernandez that was worn out, not Beltre.

"His work ethic is second to none," said Fernandez, who requested tape from senior director of medical operations Jamie Reed to try to keep a blister from forming on his finger after working with Beltre on Saturday. "I've seen many good infielders, but I think his work ethic is what really sets him apart."

Beltre's teammates see a Gold Glover out there, working early in spring training like it's the middle of the season. He has fun, but takes his craft seriously. And few can put on a show simply taking grounders like Beltre can.

Fernandez sees a player who fully understands his body and what he needs to do to be successful. Fernandez points to Beltre's quick hands and steady feet and how he puts himself in a good, athletic position to uses his reflexes, a critical component at third base.

"He’s like a hockey goalie -- don't let the ball get by you," Fernandez said. "He has the ability to react to the ball. He has the quickness of a cat, but the strength of a bear. You don’t see too much guys with that quickness and power. He has an advantage."