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The Texas Rangers are barely staying in the A.L. wild card race. If they are to make a move and climb up the standings, they will do it without Adrian Beltre.
The Rangers third baseman is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks due to a Grade 2 hamstring strain. The recovery time could carry into the final weekend of the regular season. Beltre appears optimistic that he will be back this season. However, chances of seeing the captain back on the field to finish out 2017 may be unlikely unless the Rangers somehow manage to sneak into the playoffs.
Beltre suffered the injury fielding a grounder during the seventh inning in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Florida. Beltre would leave the game with Drew Robinson taking over the hot spot. Joey Gallo was already in the lineup, seeing time at both first base and left field. Gallo will likely take over at third just like he did when Beltre missed the first 51 games of the season with a strained calf.
Beltre was hitting .315 with 16 home runs and 66 RBI’s in 80 games this season prior to the injury. He collected his 3,000 career hit in July, making him the 31st player in major league history to reach the milestone.
This will be the first time Beltre plays in fewer than 100 games in a season since his rookie year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997.
The Rangers also activated reliever Jake Diekman from the 60-day disabled list. Diekman has not played this season after undergoing surgery for chronic ulcerative colitis.
The Los Angeles Angels make the trip to The Globe for a three-game series starting on Friday. Cole Hamels gets the start for the Rangers in the series-opener. The Rangers ace is 9-2 with a 3.78 ERA this season. The Angels are a game and a half out of the final A.L. wild card spot while the Rangers are four games out.
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The Texas Rangers were expected to conclude their current road trip in Houston against the Astros this week. Those plans were changed.
Due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, the three-game series has now been moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. Both teams will play at Tropicana Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The games will be played at 6:10 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday and 12:10 p.m. on Thursday.
Tropicana Field was considered the best alternative due to the dome and the fact that the Rays are on the road this week. After the series with the Rangers, the Astros will stay in the Tampa area and play the New York Mets.
Another option would have been the Rangers and Astros switching home series, playing this week in Arlington and then going to Houston at the end of September. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers offered to play the games as the visiting club but declined to swap home-and-home series. Tickets for that series at The Globe in September have already been sold and could create an issue with asking the ticket holders to change things up in three weeks.
On the baseball side of things, it would also create a two-week road trip for the Rangers, who are still in the race for the final wild card spot in the American League. Houston already has the A.L. West division wrapped up but is now faced with an 18-game road trip due to the hurricane. After the series with the Rangers and Mets in Florida, the Astros hit the West Coast for a nine-game road trip. They are not expected to return to Houston until the middle of September.
The Rangers also announced it will donate the proceeds from its Texas 2 Split 50/50 Raffle to the American Red Cross from all three games of the upcoming weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels. The proceeds will be used for relief for the victims in the Houston and South Texas area devastated from Hurricane Harvey.
In addition, Major League Baseball and its players association have pledge $1 million to hurricane relief aid.