Third baseman Adrian Beltre hates talking about his personal achievements, even though his son, A.J., frequently reminds his Texas Rangers father where he ranks on the all-time MLB lists.
Of particular disinterest to Beltre was Saturday’s latest feat — becoming the 27th player in baseball history to amass 10,000 at-bats. To Beltre, as is the case with most of his accomplishments, it just means he has been playing for a long time.
Beltre, though, remembers his first at-bat June 24, 1998, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He collected an RBI double against Chuck Finley on the first big-league pitch thrown to him.
No. 10,000 ended in a strikeout by Minnesota Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey.
“I don’t even know if that’s important,” Beltre said. “I’m not going to lie: I’ve been more aware of [accomplishments] lately because my son likes to know things and he asks me questions and he tells me stuff, but I’m just not into it.”
Beltre is starting to play with less concern for his strained left hamstring. While he’s still managing it, he has started to let loose more often, especially defensively. An off day, though, his first since returning June 16, could be looming.
So are some more milestones, though his career numbers are already worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. Beltre signed a two-year extension in April that will keep him going through 2018, during which time he could reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
“He’s been playing in the major leagues since he’s like 15,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “He’s a Hall of Famer. He deserves it. He’s worked hard for it. I know he doesn’t like all that credit, but he earned it and he continues to earn it.”
Profar in a pinch
Jurickson Profar said that he was just looking for a pitch to drive in the seventh inning Friday as a pinch hitter for Bobby Wilson. Profar then went into survival mode after falling behind 0-2 in the count before stroking a two-run single to center.
Coming off the bench cold isn’t easy for any player, especially a young player. It becomes a more difficult task for a player who has been stuck on the bench for an extended period of time.
Profar, though, had played a full game Thursday and didn’t need to shake off any rust.
“That helped, for sure, to see the speed of the ball,” he said. “It’s not easy.”
Keeping bench players fresh is a goal of manager Jeff Banister almost as much as giving regulars rest. That’s why Ryan Rua was in the lineup Saturday even though it meant that the left-handed-hitting Nomar Mazara sat against the right-handed Duffey.
The Rangers’ position in the standings is also giving manager Jeff Banister a little more freedom to use his bench liberally.
“We are playing well and winning games,” Banister said. “It’s a little easier to do things like that.”
Banister also said that having three catchers on the roster is giving him a bit more flexibility. He likely wouldn’t have used Profar for Wilson on Friday if Robinson Chirinos was the only other catcher on the roster.
Bryan Holaday is the third catcher, and the Rangers have another line of defense in case the second catcher has to leave a game.
International signing day
The Rangers signed six international free agents on the first day of the annual July 2 signing period, including the No. 7 overall prospect as rated by Baseball America.
Venezuelan catcher David Garcia reportedly agreed with the Rangers for $800,000, and was joined by countrymen Angel Aponte, an outfielder, and infielders Emir Velasquez and Jember Gutierrez.
The Rangers also signed outfielder Danny Drullard from the Dominican Republic and outfielder Daniel Quiceno from Colombia.