Adrian Beltre needs to get a grip.
One that doesn’t send waves of intense pain through his injured left thumb and hand.
The Rangers third baseman has been tinkering with trying to find a way to swing a bat without pain. He’s been working at it for the past couple of days.
His thumb and hand are still swollen since he sprained it sliding into second base on May 31. He’s been on the disabled list since, which hasn’t sat well with him.
“What can I do? I’m disappointed that I’m not playing,” Beltre said before Sunday’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox. “I expected to be back by now. It’s an injury I never had before, and I don’t really know how long it’s going to take.”
Manager Jeff Banister would love to have Beltre’s right-handed bat back in the lineup, and he knows how badly Beltre wants to return.
But he’s also not interested in jeopardizing Beltre’s long-term health by calling for a hasty return.
Beltre was originally expected to miss about a month. It could end up being closer to six weeks if it’s not until after the All-Star break.
“We look forward to getting him back in the lineup,” Banister said. “There’s always a possibility [Beltre could return sooner than expected]. When Adrian says he’s ready to play he’ll be back in playing.”
Beltre doesn’t care about 100 percent pain free, he just wants to be “good enough” so he can get back in the lineup.
“It’s progressing little by little,” he said. “It’s getting better, not getting worse. I have to find a way to swing, so I have to find a way to do it. It’s pretty painful swinging.”
Day off for Andrus
Shortstop Elvis Andrus was given a day off Sunday and it had nothing to do with his two errors in Saturday’s game.
Banister was planning to give Andrus either Saturday or Sunday off and chose Sunday so that he would get a true 48 hours of down time with Monday’s day off on the schedule.
“I’ll take it for sure,” said Andrus, who has played a major league-leading 602 2/3 innings this season. He has 14 errors so far, on a pace to eclipse his career-high 25 errors in 2011.
Rougned Odor’s return from the minors has opened up Banister’s options to find rests for Andrus. Hanser Alberto started at shortstop on Sunday. He could also use Adam Rosales, if necessary.
But Banister wasn’t sold on the idea that a lack of rest played any part in the two errors.
“I don’t know if that’s the case,” he said. “I think Elvis is playing in an environment right now that maybe he hasn’t been a part of — the number of ground balls. He’s playing shifts more than he ever has before. He’s moving around more than he ever has before.”
Besides, Banister said, Andrus has been as focused and energetic as any player in the clubhouse this weekend.
“One day doesn’t define the guy,” Banister said. “Is Elvis going to benefit from a day off? Yeah, I think every player benefits with time down.”
Andrus prefers to play every day, but even he recognized he needed his battery recharged.
“I need it for sure. Two days off right now is almost impossible so I think it’s going to help me refresh a little bit and clear my mind and be ready for Tuesday,” he said. “Just a bad day at the office.”
Perez, Harrison in Frisco
Rehabbing left-handers Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery) and Matt Harrison (spinal fusion surgery) are scheduled to make starts at Double A Frisco this week.
Both will face Midland, Perez at 7:05 p.m. Monday and Harrison at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday.
A’s claim Smolinski
Outfielder Jake Smolinski was claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s on Sunday.
He was optioned to Triple A Nashville. The Rangers designated him for assignment on Friday to call up Ryan Rua. Smolinski was hitting .133 with a homer and six RBIs in 60 sporadic at-bats this season.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760