Third baseman Adrian Beltre’s strained left hamstring felt so good Monday that he declared himself a player for the Texas Rangers, but manager Jeff Banister said that Beltre will sit until at least Thursday to give the injury more time to heal.
Beltre ran, took batting practice and worked at third base after a day off Sunday. He said that he isn’t 100 percent and won’t be for an indefinite period, but he feels like he is good enough to play.
Banister, though, said that keeping Beltre out is in the Rangers’ best interest over the long haul, and that can be accomplished in the matter of a few games rather than with a 15-day stint on the disabled list.
“What I’d like to do, what my decision is is to continue to be patient,” Banister said. “I’ve targeted Thursday as the day. He feels good. I just feel like where we’re at, how we’ve been playing, let’s just maintain the thought process of long haul here and slow play it a bit.
“I feel confident in what I watched and what I hear from him and what our training staff is telling us. It’s about the long-term perspective for me on this. I’m making that decision. That one is on me.”
Beltre said that he doesn’t want to leave the Rangers any more short-handed than they are on the bench. The Rangers go to St. Louis on Friday, and National League rules put an high demand on having a full bench of pinch hitters for the pitcher’s spot.
Beltre, who was injured Wednesday and has missed the past five games, has experience managing leg injuries and is at the point where he thinks he can play without making the injury worse.
“I’m feeling better. There’s improvement,” Beltre said. “I don’t need to be 100 percent to play. I know how to play with this stuff. I’m just going to manage it for a week or two.”
Shin-Soo Choo came off the disabled list and was the Rangers’ leadoff hitter in the opener of a four-game series at Oakland Coliseum.
Choo said that his strained left hamstring handled the rigors of his rehab assignment, and it got quite a test. Choo collected nine hits and three walks in six games, so he was on base plenty, and he was able to track down a few tough balls in right field.
“I’m always happy to be part of the team,” Choo said. “I saw the ball well, and my legs are feeling good.”
Choo played right field, and Ryan Rua was in left field. Nomar Mazara got a day off against A’s left-hander Sean Manaea, but is likely to return to the lineup Tuesday in left field.
Jurickson Profar batted in Mazara’s spot in the lineup, in the No. 3 hole. A switch hitter, Profar batted right-handed, which is considered his worst side.
Jared Hoying was optioned to Triple A Round Rock to clear a roster spot for Choo. Hoying batted .217 (5 for 23) in his first 11 big-league games.
Martin Perez has been rolling for more than a month, going 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA in nine starts since April 27. His ERA this season sits at 3.22.
But for his hot stretch to continue, he will have to win Tuesday night on the road. He hasn’t won an away game since 2014, going 0-9 with a 4.85 ERA in his past 14 starts not at Globe Life Park.
“I have the same approach every time no matter if it’s home or away,” Perez said. “I trust my stuff. If you trust your stuff, you can do whatever you want.”
Perez said that he has committed to his two-seam fastball to help him win his past four starts and induce an MLB-best 17 double-play grounders. He also is trying to have better first and second innings and maintain that throughout.
“I just want to try to control my two-seam fastball and throw a quality pitch,” Perez said. “Compete, compete, compete.”