Buzz: Adrian Beltre easing back in

BALTIMORE -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't taking any chances. Neither is Adrian Beltre, for that matter.

Beltre said his strained left hamstring felt good enough in early work to make him a player in tonight's game. But he's not in the field. Not yet, anyway. He took grounders and moved around with no issues, but Washington wants to see how Beltre feels after getting more at-bats as the designated hitter. It's Beltre's first start since last Monday in Toronto.

"We'll see how he comes out of that," Washington said. "I want to put hiim in the field as much as everyone wants to see him there. But I want to be sure we can keep him there."

Beltre said he's taking things day to day as he tries to make sure the hamstring injury doesn't turn into something long-term. He's going through treatment every day and trying different things before the game to test it out, though nothing that would risk hurting it more. Asked if he was going crazy, Beltre said: "You could say that."

Beltre has managed hamstring issues for a while now. He's trying to make sure he listens to his body and doesn't push it when he doesn't have to do so.

"I'm just trying not to go crazy running," Beltre said. "I'm going to be limping, for sure. I'm going to protect it. I have to be smart and not try to stretch a single into a double or try to score on a close play or anything like that. For now, I'll go station to station and hopefully get better."

Beltre said it took a while last year when he returned to feel like he could go all out. But he also didn't want to test it too much, either.

Other notes:

* If the Rangers ever get into a situation where a position player has to pitch, like the Orioles did Sunday, Washington said he'd go with Mitch Moreland. The Rangers first baseman admits he was a bit jealous of Chris Davis, the former Ranger who threw two scoreless innings and got the win in Baltimore's 17-inning victory over the Red Sox.

"That was pretty cool," Moreland said. "I've pitched a lot in college, and it's something I think would be fun. But I hope it doesn't come to that for us. If I ever needed to, I'd love to."

Moreland said he was a late-inning reliever in college and that his longest outing was four innings.

"I'll be ready to go if they need me," Moreland said.

* Washington said his gut told him to put Nelson Cruz in the lineup tonight, no matter who was pitching. Cruz is just 3-for-26 on this road trip and hitting .216 overall this season. In his last 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Cruz has just two hits.

"One swing could be the difference," Washington said, knowing Cruz is a streaky hitter and sometimes one big hit can spark him into a long streak of success.

The skipper said he'd like to get Cruz a day off but hasn't had the opportunity yet.

* Brandon Snyder was in the lineup Monday because Washington wanted to let him hit against a left-handed starter. He said it didn't have to do with the fact that Snyder was once an Oriole.

* Koji Uehara, a former Oriole, is back in Baltimore this week. His family lives here and his son, Kaz, was in the clubhouse prior to the game. Kaz, who is probably around five years old, is a lefty.