ARLINGTON -- After returning from the disabled list, Adrian Beltre made his presence felt almost as soon as he stepped into the box for his first at-bat in the second inning of Thursday's game, a 7-2 win over the Rays. Beltre lined a 2-0 pitch from Jeff Niemann down the right-field line for a single. But the true test of his strained left hamstring came with the next batter, David Murphy, who doubled into the left-field gap. Beltre scored all the way from first.
"I was trying to take short steps, but Murphy hit it far enough where I could still score easily," Beltre said. Manager Ron Washington has said that the key to avoiding a re-injury of the hamstring will be to make sure Beltre does not put undue stress on it. And after watching the slugger run the bases, Washington sees no reason to be concerned.
"I was just paying attention to his strides, and he was under control, he wasn't trying to push it," Washington said. "David hit it in the right part of the ballpark to give him an opportunity to make it around the bags."Beltre's only opportunity in the field came in the eighth, when he caught a Johnny Damon liner. Beltre, who went on the DL on July 23, looked as though he was going to become the third Ranger this season to homer in his first game back from a DL stint when he lofted a deep fly ball to right field in the bottom of the eighth, but Matt Joyce leaped over the wall to rob Beltre of the home run. "It was gone until he caught it," Beltre said. "Obviously, I didn't hit it hard enough. But he made a nice catch."