ARLINGTON — The Rangers have activated third baseman Adrian Beltre off the disabled list. Beltre, who has been sidelined since the beginning of the season with a strained right calf muscle, was at third base and hitting cleanup on Monday night against the Rays.
“I know he is excited,” catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “That’s a pretty good pickup, a pretty good free-agent signing, a future Hall of Famer. It’s exciting to see his name in the lineup. He is a big part of what we are trying to do.”
Joey Gallo, who had started 48 games at third base while Beltre was on the disabled list, was at first base on Monday night. Gallo has also been taking fly balls in left field.
“I would think there is a pretty good chance of him playing all three,” manager Jeff Banister said.
Gallo, who entered the game hitting .198 with a club-leading 15 home runs and 32 RBIs, started at first base because Mike Napoli has been dealing with some back tightness after spending the weekend on the artificial turf in Toronto.
“I just want to play,” Gallo said. “I don’t have a particularly favorite position. Anywhere on the field is fine. I’m going to go out there with 14 different gloves.”
Much will depend on how careful the Rangers are with Beltre. This was the fourth time Beltre has been on the disabled list in his career and it was also the longest. Beltre is also 38, so the club is once again professing a desire to take extra steps to keep him healthy.
“We need to find a way to keep him on the field long term, not short term,” Banister said. “There will be days when he is down and days when he’s the DH. We’re trying to manage it. There is the calf, but also the rest of the player.”
The Rangers have three days off in the first eight days of June, so that will allow them to ease Beltre back into a full workload. They are off Thursday, Monday and the following Thursday.
“This is a good time of the season for a defensive player who has been out for a while to get back into the nine-inning grind,” Banister said.
Beltre began the season with 2,942 career hits, leaving him 58 short of being the 31st player in Major League history to reach the 3,000 mark. To make room for Beltre, utility player Drew Robinson was optioned to Triple-A.