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Beltre shifts back to third base for finale

Beltre shifts back to third base for finale

Beltre shifts back to third base for finale
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rangers manager Ron Washington had a change of heart, or a change of mind, Wednesday with his lineup card, inserting Adrian Beltre at third base instead of at designated hitter.

Washington had said on Monday he would play Beltre at third just once -- on Tuesday -- during the three-game series at Tropicana Field, but he decided to go with Beltre in the field so he could have Mike Napoli serve as Derek Holland's batterymate against the Rays.

"Napoli's been doing a good job with him, keeping him focused, and Derek's on a roll and I didn't want to break that up," Washington said. "He makes him use all his pitches. He reads the hitters very well. He seems to keep Holland focused, and he doesn't give Holland a chance to think. Holland gets the ball, Nap puts the sign down and he goes. He's just out there rocking and firing."

Napoli has caught Holland over the left-hander's last eight starts entering Wednesday. Holland has won five of six decisions, including his last two, in which Holland allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings.

With Napoli catching, Washington felt comfortable putting Michael Young at first, knowing how ready Beltre was to play at third.

"Beltre's been all right from the beginning," Washington said. "He didn't want to DH anyway. When I went out and told him he wasn't [going to be the DH], a smile came across his face. He told me he could play third base the rest of the way. He's not going to do so, but it just worked out that way today because I had to make an adjustment."

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