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Rehabbing Beltre shows pop in batting practice

Rangers 3B likely to need a couple more weeks before return; Bibens-Dirkx to be called up for start
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre took batting practice on the field for the first time Wednesday since going on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He put on a pretty good show.

"When I left, there were seven balls on the pasture [over the fence] in straightaway center field," manager Jeff Banister said.

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ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre took batting practice on the field for the first time Wednesday since going on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He put on a pretty good show.

"When I left, there were seven balls on the pasture [over the fence] in straightaway center field," manager Jeff Banister said.

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Beltre also took ground balls at third base and did some light running. But the Rangers are not pushing him, and the best guess is he is still going to need a couple of more weeks.

"That's appropriate," Banister said. "He swung the bat well and looked fresh, but we are dealing with a hamstring."

Beltre hasn't played since injuring the hamstring on May 13 in Houston. This is the second time this season that he has been sidelined with a Grade 1 strain in that hamstring. He missed 12 games from April 25-May 7 because of the issue.

Bibens-Dirkx to get start
The Rangers announced right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx will be called up on Thursday to start against the Royals. He is filling in for Matt Moore, who is on the disabled list with a sore right knee.

Bibens-Dirkx has made eight starts at Triple-A Round Rock and is 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA. He is averaging 10.2 hits, 1.9 walks and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He was 5-2 with a 4.67 ERA in six starts and 18 relief appearances for the Rangers last season as their Rookie of the Year.

Video: Bibens-Dirkx wins 2017 Rangers Rookie of the Year

"Very similar to last year," Banister said. "Solid mix of pitches, throws strikes from different arm angles. It's all been positive. Still a very confident guy."

Moore, who is 1-5 with a 7.99 ERA in 10 outings, last pitched on May 18 and is eligible to come off the disabled list next Tuesday. He has had one bullpen session since his last start and is scheduled to throw live batting practice. Moore said he expects to be ready for Tuesday's game against the Mariners in Seattle.

Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail said Moore has used the down time to try to be more consistent with his delivery from pitch to pitch. When his delivery is right, he gets more on his fastball and better break on the curve. When he gets out of whack, the fastball velocity drops and the curve rolls, rather than breaking sharply.

Rangers beat
• First baseman Ronald Guzman started with left-hander CC Sabathia pitching for the Yankees on Wednesday. Guzman went into the game 1-for-9 off left-handers, and this was just his third start against a southpaw. But Banister said Guzman is looking more comfortable against them. The Rangers are scheduled to face Royals left-handers Danny Duffy and Eric Skoglund on Thursday and Friday.

Keone Kela is 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season after locking down Tuesday's 6-4 win over the Yankees. St. Louis' Bud Norris and Houston's Ken Giles are the only other closers with nine saves and no blown saves.

Shin-Soo Choo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nomar Mazara each drew two walks at the top of the lineup in Tuesday's victory. The only other time that happened at the top of the Rangers' lineup was on Sept. 29, 1978, from Bobby Bonds, Bump Wills and Johnny Grubb.

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, Austin Bibens-Dirkx