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Beltre collects 3 hits, 2 RBIs in return to lineup

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers received a big lift Tuesday when third baseman Adrian Beltre determined he was ready to return to the lineup, and the veteran made an immediate impact with three hits.

Beltre was activated off the disabled list after being out since April 25 due to a strained left hamstring. He was back in his usual spots, playing third base and batting cleanup for the Rangers in a 7-4 loss to the Tigers.

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers received a big lift Tuesday when third baseman Adrian Beltre determined he was ready to return to the lineup, and the veteran made an immediate impact with three hits.

Beltre was activated off the disabled list after being out since April 25 due to a strained left hamstring. He was back in his usual spots, playing third base and batting cleanup for the Rangers in a 7-4 loss to the Tigers.

"Just a feel thing," Beltre said. "I just wanted to run the bases before I got out there; I did that yesterday, and I felt good enough to be out there. The way it is right now is manageable.

"When you're on the field, at least, you're able to contribute and help the ballclub find a way to win games. But on the DL, all you can do is cheerlead. Being on the bench, there's not much I can do, so I want to be out there and figure out how to make this ballclub better."

He flared a single in his second at-bat, lined an RBI single to left in his third at-bat and smacked an RBI single to right to pull the Rangers within two runs in the eighth inning.

Video: DET@TEX: Beltre smacks a single in return from injury

"What can you say?" manager Jeff Banister said. "It does not stop amazing all of us. You can't say it's unbelievable, because it plays out right in front of your eyes, just what he does. There are times when he puts his team on his back and wills himself through a number of things. Just continues to play the game of baseball. He fouled a ball off his leg tonight and continued to battle through it. I've got to believe it was quite a bit of pain. Just how he plays the game is astonishing."

The Rangers' mission now is to keep Beltre on the field. He played in a career-low 94 games last season while landing on the disabled list twice, once with a right calf issue and another time for a strained left hamstring.

"It's one of those situations where we will continue to look at playing time, time on his legs and how he feels," Banister said. "When he had the hamstring [issue], he was feeling as good as he had in a long time. We'll continue to look at it, try to be as smart as we can be when he needs a day.

"It's part of my job to find the most opportune time to do that, not only for him, but for the team."

Beltre said he expects to be able to handle it, but he understands the issues.

"I have had hamstring issues since 2000, so this is nothing new," Beltre said. "This was weird because I felt completely healthy when it happened. I wasn't even running hard when it happened. I just have to figure out how to play with it."

Tweet from @Rangers: No rust on the ageless wonder. 3 hits 2 RBIs1 perfect smile pic.twitter.com/D9C8UHtx9Y

The other issue is Beltre will be a free agent after the season, and his team is falling out of contention quicker than anybody expected. That means he'll be dealing with questions about possibly being traded at some point this summer.

"I'll deal with that when it comes," Beltre said. "My job right now is to compete and stay healthy and help us be a better ballclub."

The Rangers' loss on Tuesday left them 14-24 on the season.

"Challenges. We have a lot of challenges," Beltre said. "We have to make sure we stay healthy. We're in a tough division, obviously, one of the best divisions in the league, and trying to figure out how to be a better ballclub, as a team. I don't think I have to challenge myself, it's just a team thing."

Beltre's return settles the lineup a little bit. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been alternating between third and second base since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock. He will stay at second base for the time being, although the Rangers could activate second baseman Rougned Odor -- who is on a rehab assignment at Round Rock -- from the disabled list as early as Friday.

Beltre's absence also forced the Rangers to drop Nomar Mazara into the No. 4 spot, which left a hole at the third spot. Jurickson Profar and Kiner-Falefa were both used there, but were a combined 9-for-52 (.173) heading into the game, in which Profar homered and Kiner-Falefa went 1-for-4.

To make room for Beltre, the Rangers optioned utility player Eliezer Alvarez back to Double-A Frisco. That left Ryan Rua as their only backup middle infielder, but that problem is expected to be resolved when Odor is activated and Kiner-Falefa resumes a utility role.

Rangers beat

• Reliever Chris Martin, on the disabled list with irritation in his right forearm, threw off a mound on Tuesday. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the disabled list, retroactive to May 1, and the Rangers are hopeful he will not be sidelined for an extended period of time.

Video: TEX@CLE: Moore gets Alonso to go down swinging in 2nd

Matt Moore is 1-4 with a 7.71 ERA after seven starts and one relief appearance, but the Rangers aren't making any changes in their rotation, even with a day off Thursday and another on Monday. Banister said Moore is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Astros.

• Left-hander Martin Perez, on the disabled list with soreness in his right (non-throwing) arm, is still playing catch but is not ready to throw off a mound yet.

"It's better, but not 100 percent," said Perez. "I am going to wait until it's 100 percent."

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.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre