Adrian Beltre had to leave Game 1 of the American League Division Series after the third inning of the Texas Rangers’ 5-3 win Thursday with what was diagnosed after an MRI exam as a back strain.
General manager Jon Daniels said that Beltre hasn’t been ruled out for Game 2 on Friday, but it seems unlikely that he would play based on the way he exited the game.
Beltre was injured in the first inning while sliding into second base and trying to break up a double play. He stayed in the game but received treatment as well as an injection of anti-inflammatory medication when the Rangers were batting.
Beltre singled in a run in the third, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead, but he could barely run to first base. Manager Jeff Banister and athletic trainer Kevin Harmon visited Beltre at first, but he stayed in.
“It looked like he put everything he had into that swing,” Daniels said. “We’ll wait and see.”
53 RBIs for Adrian Beltre since Aug. 15, the most in the major leagues
He was lifted after barely being able to run to second on a Prince Fielder grounder to end the inning. Utility man Hanser Alberto entered and would be the starter in Game 2 if Beltre can’t play.
The Rangers haven’t ruled out Beltre, who returned to Rogers Centre after the game and was seen walking slowly and gingerly. He was going to receive treatment at the team hotel, but the Rangers are flying in infielders Joey Gallo and Ed Lucas from Arizona in case one of them is needed.
The Rangers can replace Beltre on the roster, but he would be lost for the rest of the ALDS as well as a possible AL Championship Series.
“That would be the last option,” Daniels said. “The news would have to be worse than it is now for us to consider that.”