Adrian Beltre was out of the Texas Rangers’ starting lineup Sunday for a second straight game in the American League Division Series, but the third baseman’s lower back strain was said to be improving.
He was at Globe Life Park for Game 3 after being excused from the off-day workout Saturday. Back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett saw Beltre, reviewed his MRI exam, and confirmed the original diagnosis.
Manager Jeff Banister played it fairly coy when asked about Beltre’s availability, again saying that he never counts Beltre out of anything.
“I know that he has had a lot of improvement and he’s continuing to get work,” Banister said. “If he says he’s ready, then we’ve got a decision to make.”
Beltre, though, stayed camped in the training room receiving treatment and didn’t take batting practice on the field. Shortstop Elvis Andrus said that the Rangers want Beltre back, but only when healthy enough to contribute.
“He’s doing better, for sure,” Andrus said. “We want him healthy. We want him to be in good shape out there to help us, though. He’s going to take as much time as he needs.”
Hanser Alberto was the starter at third base again against Toronto after his game-winning RBI in the 14th inning of Game 2. The Rangers still have no plans to take Beltre off the roster, though infielders Joey Gallo and Ed Lucas remain with the club.
Alberto and the fellow rookie contributors left a favorable impression on the Rangers during the season.
“You don’t really see them being nervous in any situation, be it better than them, especially Alberto,” Andrus said. “For him to stay calm ... it was huge for us.”
Martin bows out
Right-hander Nick Martinez was flown in from Arizona, where he and others had been sent to stay sharp in case they are needed, to be introduced Sunday with the rest of the Rangers as the front office recognized his contributions to the run to the AL West title.
Center fielder Leonys Martin, though, was not on hand after refusing to report to Arizona upon learning that he failed to make the ALDS roster.
“He was disappointed he didn’t stay with the team,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “It’s a very shortsighted decision.”
Daniels said that Martin’s decision does “not necessarily” determine Martin’s status for next season. Martin opened 2015 as the center fielder and leadoff man after a good finish in 2014, but he was injured in May and eventually lost his job to rookie Delino DeShields.
The strong-armed Martin was demoted to Triple A Round Rock and shortly thereafter suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand. He underwent surgery and played in only one game down the stretch.
Martin will be arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2016.
Before Friday, the last time Ross Ohlendorf had been seen on a mound was Oct. 3, surrendering a two-run ninth-inning lead as the Rangers almost let the AL West title slip away.
He was in another big spot Friday in Game 2, holding a two-run lead in the 14th inning. All he allowed was a hit batsman in a scoreless inning for his first career postseason save.
Banister said that he had seen Ohlendorf’s ability to bounce back this season and earlier in his career.
“I thought he rebounded very well, and it was similar to what he has done before,” Banister said. “Ross is the type of guy that he’s able to wash off challenging appearances.”