Adrian Beltre declared himself ready to play for Game 4 of the American League Division Series, and he was inserted into the Texas Rangers’ lineup Monday about an hour before first pitch.
Beltre was felled by a strained lower back in the first inning of Game 1 on Thursday. He remained in the game until the third, delivering an RBI single though barely able to run to first base.
The third baseman was seen before Monday’s game running in a hallway off the Rangers’ weight room. While he looked far better than Thursday, he had a pained expression as he ran.
Beltre also took some soft toss in the cages before the game and felt he was ready to play. He collected singles in his first two at-bats and said that his back felt “good enough.”
“There was some physical stuff that made me believe I was able to play,” Beltre said. “When I got up this morning I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play.”
Catcher Robinson Chirinos said that the Rangers missed their captain.
“He’s the leader of this club. It’s not any secret,” Chirinos said. “It’s a big difference for this team, and to not have him in the lineup is huge.”
Rookie utility infielder Hanser Alberto replaced Beltre and delivered the game-winning RBI in the 14th inning Friday in Game 2. Alberto, though, is unlikely to play again in the ALDS after Beltre said he will be in the lineup for Game 5.
“I just want to be out there and contribute to my ballclub if we want to do what we want to do, which is go to the World Series,” Beltre said. “We’ve got to win the first series first and win the last game Wednesday.”
Lewis in relief
Right-hander Colby Lewis made the first postseason relief appearance of his career and his first in the majors since 2007 when he replaced Derek Holland after the first two Blue Jays reached in the third inning.
A 17-game winner in the regular season and the best postseason pitcher in club history, Lewis was bypassed by Holland for the Game 4 start. Lewis allowed two inherited runners to score in the third, but worked three innings and allowed one run on three hits with three walks.
“If I’m on a roster, then I’ve got to do my job,” Lewis said. “It’s different. I’ve got a newfound respect for those guys who come out and throw four or five days in a row. I felt great.”
Fellow right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who started Game 1, was available out of the bullpen, too, and will be Wednesday as well.
The Rangers’ coaching staff decided that the team will not work out Tuesday, either in Toronto or at Globe Life Park, on the planned travel day, and won’t depart for Toronto until mid-afternoon.
First baseman Mitch Moreland said that his body will get a day off, but not his mind.
“All I’ll be thinking about from now until game time is going out and putting everything I’ve got into a win,” he said.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, though, said that a day off the field might actually give the Rangers a chance to forget about losing twice at home with a chance to clinch the ALDS and get their minds straight for Game 5.
“I really love that,” Andrus said. “When things are not going the way you want, a nice day off sometimes is a nice way to relax and stay away from baseball. Everybody is ready. We’re ready to go.”