WASHINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre returned to the lineup on Saturday after showing significant improvement in his sprained left ankle. He went 1-for-3 with a walk in the Rangers' 6-3, 11-inning win, before he was replaced with a pinch-runner in the ninth. Beltre even shocked the Nationals by
WASHINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre returned to the lineup on Saturday after showing significant improvement in his sprained left ankle. He went 1-for-3 with a walk in the Rangers' 6-3, 11-inning win, before he was replaced with a pinch-runner in the ninth. Beltre even shocked the Nationals by stealing second base in the seventh inning when they weren't paying attenton to him.
The Rangers came to Washington wondering if Beltre would have to go on the disabled list. Instead he missed just two games after spraining the ankle on Tuesday against the Mets.
"I have had a lot of improvement," Beltre said. "The pain is less, the inflammation is down and I'm moving around better."
Beltre had played in just seven games before injuring the ankle landing awkwardly on first base in Tuesday's game. Beltre had already missed the first two months of the season with a strained right calf muscle.
Beltre is not 100 percent but good enough to play, and he is not overly concerned about the calf or the ankle.
"I've played with stuff like this before with no issues," Beltre said. "I'm not going to go out there 100 percent, but it is what it is. I'm going to find a way to play with this. I'm not worried about the risk."
Manager Jeff Banister said Beltre tried to fight his way into the lineup on Friday after having a good pregame workout. The Rangers held off one more day.
"There is inherent risk on a baseball field or any sporting field," Banister said. "I don't think there is any more risk than coming back from the calf and worrying about a hamstring. He knows himself, and he understands the medical situation. He understands the dynamic of him being on our team and in the lineup."
The Rangers recalled Jurickson Profar from Triple-A Round Rock to play in Beltre's absence. That was for one day, and now he is back on the bench.
Profar was sent to Triple-A at the end of April so he could play every day rather than sit on the bench. The Rangers have veteran Pete Kozma as their utility infielder.
So Beltre's quick return could mean Profar is going back to Triple-A.
"Right now, we are focused on today," Banister said. "We'll look at the situation as each day comes along. There are no long-term plans as far as this is how we'll work this out."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.