Adrian Beltre to play in WBC

Updated: January 11, 2013, 11:33 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said Friday he will play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Beltre, 33, batted .321 with 36 homers and 102 RBIs for the Rangers in 2012. He also won his second consecutive Gold Glove.

Beltre played for the Dominican Republic in the WBC in 2006, but did not participate in 2009. Beltre talked to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who said earlier this offseason that it's up to the individual player if he wants to compete in the WBC. Beltre said it's an important event for his country.

"The fans over there in our country, they take a lot of pride in what we do here," Beltre said.

"Obviously, it's the biggest sport in our land. I don't think they're happy the way the last two WBCs ended up. I think guys have a little edge. They want to prove they are better than what they showed the last couple of WBCs, and I'm hoping to be a part of that."

Beltre said he won't push things, and if his body doesn't feel right, he won't play.

"You go through spring training and you never know; an injury can hold you back," Beltre said. "If I don't feel 100 percent healthy to be in the WBC, I'm not going to force it. I'm not going to jeopardize what I'm trying to do here with this team in the WBC. If everything goes well and I'm healthy, I'm going to play."

Beltre's teammate Nelson Cruz also is committed to playing for the Dominican Republic.

In addition, Rangers closer Joe Nathan said Friday he's considering playing for the United States in the WBC after he was approached by manager Joe Torre about participating.

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