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Safety-first for Beltre on bases

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre makes his Rangers return tonight with one caveat.

He’ll have a yellow light on the bases.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Beltre’s instructions are simple. If the third baseman is unsure about stretching a hit into a double, don’t go!

If he is not positive he can score from second base on a single, don’t try it!

“There’s an inner clock that tells you if you can or can’t make it,’’ Washington said.

And Beltre has to accept not challenging that clock.

Beltre, who missed 37 games with a left hamstring strain that he re-injured once in rehab, said he understands.

“No, it isn’t difficult for me because I have to do it,’’ Beltre said. “I can’t afford to hurt it again.’’

Texas, owning a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL West, hosts Tampa Bay at 7:05 tonight at Rangers Ballpark.

When Beltre suffered his injury, he ranked second in the AL in RBIs, tied for second in doubel and seventh in home runs. His 71 RBIs at the break were a career mark at that point in the season.

"Beltre's presence makes a big difference,'' Washington said.