Beltre Injury Comes at Bad Time

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The Texas Rangers had a great weekend of baseball at Globe Life Park, winning three straight from the Boston Red Sox with some dramatic happenings including Josh Hamilton's Rangers return to Arlington and a walkoff double on Sunday afternoon.

The Rangers also suffered about the worst loss they could when Adrian Beltre slid into second base to break up a double play and sprained his left thumb on the bag, an injury that also required four stitches to close a laceration.

Beltre is now on the 15-day disabled list, and the initial word out of the Rangers' camp was that their star third baseman would miss "at least two weeks." CBS Sports' Jon Heyman just reported it was a dislocated thumb with no fractures shown on the MRI. That's good news. The bad news, it's "going to be a while before he can swing a bat."

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If you're looking at this realistically, you have to think this is probably a three- or four-week deal before Beltre gets back to facing big-league pitching with the hope that Beltre does what he's always done, which is get back as quickly as possible from injury.

This is bad for several reasons, but most notably the fact that the Rangers' lineup was just starting to look legitimately scary with the addition of Josh Hamilton on top of Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Beltre and even Mitch Moreland.

The Rangers' offense will still be formidable if everyone plays like they have been lately, and Beltre certainly wasn't carrying the thing, but his presence in the cleanup spot will be greatly missed, especially because he's the only right-handed bat of the aforementioned bunch.

So, what do the Rangers do? Well, they can finally have a legitimate discussion of whether they called up 22-year-old slugger Joey Gallo, their top organizational prospect, who is doing well in Double-A. To do that, they'd have to cut someone from the 40-man roster and send them through waivers. Or, they could simply make a move to recall Rougned Odor to play second base again and move recent call-up Hanser Alberto, a great defensive player, to third base and let Gallo continue to simmer at Double-A.

Beltre missed a two-week stint early last season before coming back and getting hot, and the Rangers certainly hope that's all he misses this year. But, the stakes are much higher now than they were a year ago because this team actually has something to play for.

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