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Beltre climbs all-time hits list in return from DL

Third baseman expected to get more time at DH to stay fresh
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SEATTLE -- Adrian Beltre returned from the disabled list in Thursday night's 6-1 loss to the Mariners and tallied singles in two of his first three at-bats to pass Hall of Famer Cap Anson for 22nd on the all-time hits list with 3,082. Next up is Ichiro Suzuki, who sits at 3,089.

"We've seen it before," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He continues to impress every time he is on the field for us. It's amazing what he does. It's great just to have him back on the field. He had a couple of good hits and quality at-bats all around. He never stops amazing us at what he is able to do."

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SEATTLE -- Adrian Beltre returned from the disabled list in Thursday night's 6-1 loss to the Mariners and tallied singles in two of his first three at-bats to pass Hall of Famer Cap Anson for 22nd on the all-time hits list with 3,082. Next up is Ichiro Suzuki, who sits at 3,089.

"We've seen it before," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He continues to impress every time he is on the field for us. It's amazing what he does. It's great just to have him back on the field. He had a couple of good hits and quality at-bats all around. He never stops amazing us at what he is able to do."

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Beltre was the Rangers' designated hitter for his first game back. Banister said Beltre will likely get Friday off since the Rangers have a late-night flight from Seattle to Anaheim.

Banister also said Beltre will play third base at some point this weekend against the Angels.

That's how the Rangers will start out as they try to manage their 39-year-old future Hall of Famer who has been on the DL twice this year because of a strained left hamstring.

"I'm ready to play," Beltre said. "I know I have to be smart about it, just be careful. When I come back from injury, I always take care of it for at least a week or so. I'm good enough to play, but I am going to take care of it for the first 10 days or so. It's all about the running. I don't think about it when I'm playing or swinging. Just not try to react too quick after contact, manage it on the basepaths if I get on."

Beltre's ultimate goal is to be the Rangers' regular third baseman. Their best lineup is with him at third base. But, at least at the beginning, Beltre will not be playing third base as regularly as he desires.

"He will DH a little more," Banister said. "On travel days, he won't play the field, depending on the travel and the workload. Day games after night games, we'll look at that early on. Adrian is our best third baseman. He's got Gold Gloves. Nobody is arguing that. But to keep him in the lineup as much as we can, we are going to DH him and give him days off."

Video: Beltre on being activated off 10-day disabled list

Isiah Kiner-Falefa will continue to play third base on days when Beltre is not available. Shin-Soo Choo has been the Rangers' designated hitter but is starting to take fly balls in left field. Playing left would allow the Rangers to get him in the lineup on days when Beltre is the DH and still keep Nomar Mazara in right field. Banister said he won't be afraid to use Joey Gallo in center to get him in the same outfield as Choo and Mazara.

"We are lucky we have some flexibility with some players," Banister said. "We'll have to be creative with the way we keep guys in the lineup."

Beltre said he has to take it a step at a time.

"First, I have to convince myself I can be out there and show them I can be out there," Beltre said. "This is the second time on the DL. People are being more cautious. So, I spent more time on the DL this time and I am going to spend more time at DH. We'll see how it goes."

It could be an interesting summer for Beltre. The Rangers want his bat in the lineup, but he also will be a free agent after this season. If he shows he could stay healthy, other clubs could be interested in him leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline, although he has the right to veto any trade.

"I'm here today," Beltre said. "Baseball players have short memories and they don't look ahead. Go with today and not worry about tomorrow. First of all, I can't be traded if I don't play."

Rangers beat
• Outfielder Ryan Rua was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Beltre. Rua, the Rangers' Opening Day left fielder, was hitting .163 with a .267 slugging percentage in 34 games.

• Shortstop Elvis Andrus, on the DL with a fractured right elbow, is expecting to start hitting off soft-toss pitching on Friday. He is also hoping to be cleared for full batting practice after being examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Tuesday in Arlington.

• The Rangers have an off-day on Monday, which would allow them to skip Matt Moore in the rotation, but Banister said the Rangers are going to stay in rotation and give all their starters and extra day of rest. That means Moore will start on Tuesday against the Athletics in Arlington.

• Left-handed pitcher Adam Loewen, who has had big league time with the Orioles, Phillies and D-backs, has been released at Round Rock.

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