Adrian Beltre won’t be voted an All-Star starter, so technically there’s a chance that he won’t be a member of the American League team July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The Texas Rangers’ third baseman said last week that he wouldn’t be angry if he didn’t get picked. The same can’t be said for manager Ron Washington.
“If they don’t take Beltre, it’s a farce,” Washington said Saturday. “How can you not take Beltre?”
Beltre has been the AL’s best third baseman the past two months. He entered the Rangers’ second game at Citi Field batting .336 and .354 since May 1, both of which are second in the league behind Houston second baseman Jose Altuve.
Among third baseman, Beltre’s average since May 1 is 130 points higher than shoo-in starter Josh Donaldson of Oakland and 52 points higher than Rangers killer Kyle Seager of Seattle.
Donaldson has hit one more homer than Beltre in that span, 11-10, and Seager has six more RBIs, 46-40.
“Yeah, OK, his home runs and his RBIs are down,” Washington said. “But to be where that guy is, he had to fight through a ton of adversity team-wise.”
Washington also expects Yu Darvish to be selected, and wants to see the right-hander work one inning or throw 20 pitches in the game.
Darvish would be available, as his final start before the break is Wednesday.
“If they choose him, I’d hope he’d want to pitch,” Washington said. “Come on.”
Shin-Soo Choo entered Saturday with hits in seven of his past eight games, and shortstop Elvis Andrus was coming off back-to-back three-hit games and was hitting .301 since May 4.
Alex Rios batted third for the third consecutive game, and Beltre is Beltre.
The top of the Rangers’ lineup appears to be finding its stride. But the offense needs more than just those four to be successful.
“We need to do our job,” Andrus said. “We need everybody. It’s a team. We need more than three or four guys.”
Washington said that he would hope the success of the first four batters would generate momentum throughout the lineup, but he hasn’t seen it yet. Even when hitters toward the bottom start to get something going, the top half hasn’t always kept it going.
“That’s been our Achilles’ heel,” Washington said. “But we have a better chance if they [the first four hitters] continue to do what they’ve been doing.”
Geovany Soto caught five innings Friday in the first game of his rehab assignment, going 0 for 2 at Triple A Round Rock but catching two runners trying to steal.
He remains on target to return July 18, and his return would create a glut of three catchers. Chris Gimenez would seem more likely to be moved out than Robinson Chirinos, but both might stick with the team.
“It’s not automatic that he’s going to be the odd man out,” Washington said.
Washington said that Gimenez’s ability to play first base and even outfield in a pinch makes him more valuable than an ordinary catcher. He also is out of options and would have to clear waivers and accept an assignment to Round Rock.
Gimenez started at first base last week at Baltimore, but hasn’t seen the outfield yet.
“I’m just saying he can do it,” Washington said. “It’s not something we’re talking about doing.”
Briefly• The series opener Friday, played in 4 hours, 8 minutes, now rates as the longest nine-inning game in MLB history in which the home team didn’t bat the final inning and the teams combined for fewer than 13 runs.
• Nick Tepesch, who was scheduled to pitch Friday, will start Sunday and be followed by Miles Mikolas, Nick Martinez, Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis.