NEW YORK -- Rangers outfielder Engel Beltre was born in the Dominican Republic, but he grew up in the Bronx not far from Yankee Stadium. He attended DeWitt Clinton and James Monroe High School in the Bronx, so he was thrilled that he made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
"I'm so happy to be here," Beltre said. "That's the one thing I always wanted: to play in Yankee Stadium. My family gets to see me. It's a great moment for me."
Beltre recorded his first big league hit in the third inning on Thursday, a single off starter Phil Hughes.
Beltre got to play at the old Yankee Stadium when James Monroe lost to Thomas Jefferson in the PSAL High School championship game in his junior year. Beltre went 1-for-2 with a single in that game and also pitched.
After his junior year, Beltre moved back to the Dominican Republic. That allowed him to avoid the First-Year Player Draft and sign with the Red Sox. The Rangers tried to sign him as an amateur as well, but they finally acquired him on July 31, 2007, along with outfielder David Murphy and pitcher Kason Gabbard for pitcher Eric Gagne.
Beltre was used as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning on Wednesday and was thrown out trying to steal second. He was in the starting lineup for the first time in center field on Thursday, batting ninth. Manager Ron Washington wanted to give Leonys Martin a day off, even though Martin has an 11-game hitting streak.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.