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Beltre a reliable name in Rangers' lineup

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The countdown to the end of third baseman Adrian Beltre's contract begins this season.

Beltre is signed for three more seasons at $17 million this season, $18 million in 2015 and $16 million in 2016. But the Rangers have a voidable option on 2016 based on Beltre being able to stay in the lineup this season and next year.

According to the terms of his contract, the Rangers can exercise the voidable option if Beltre fails to reach 1,200 plate appearances in 2014-15 or 600 plate appearances in 2015.

Beltre's history suggests he has a good chance of hitting both marks. He has had 1,344 plate appearances over the past two seasons and has had at least 600 plate appearances in 10 of the past 12 seasons. He had 477 plate appearances with the Mariners in 2009 and 525 with the Rangers in 2011. Beltre was on the disabled list twice in 2009 and once in 2011 with a strained left hamstring.

Beltre, who will turn 35 on April 7, played in 161 games last year. He did so while dealing with some tightness in his hamstrings. Beltre's legs remain a concern, which is why manager Ron Washington likes to give him an occasional start at designated hitter. He had 15 starts at DH last season.

"I feel good right now," Beltre said Thursday after the first official workout.

"All I know is every time I go to the ballpark, I can pencil Beltre's name in the lineup," Washington said. "I'll take 85 percent of Beltre over 100 percent of some other guys."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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