ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain. As expected, Chris Davis was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take his place.
Grade 1 is the least severe category of strains.
Beltre, 32, was running hard to third base in the fifth inning after Michael Young's double and felt the hamstring grab as he closed in on the bag.
"I just hope it's not as bad as it felt," Beltre said after Friday's 12-2 win over Toronto.
Beltre said the hamstring felt like it was cramping every time he moved it.
The third baseman leads the Rangers with 76 RBIs and is second in the American League in that category. He has 49 extra-base hits, tied for the most in the league, and is fifth in total bases at 196. Beltre has 20 home runs, just behind team-leader Nelson Cruz. He is second on the team with a 3.6 WAR and is at or near the lead among third baseman in a number of defensive categories. He leads all third baseman in total chances and putouts and has improved the overall infield defense with his ability to take hits away at third base.
"You don't replace your RBI leader," manager Ron Washington said Saturday. "This guy got tons of big hits for us. Once again, the guys that are in the lineup, I just want them to perform to what they are capable of doing. I don't want them to think they have to step up. People want to say step up, but what I want them to do is continue to be mentally tough. That's all the stepping up I want to see."
Beltre is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 7. The Rangers expect him to miss two to three weeks with the strain.
Davis batted eighth and played third base Saturday night against Toronto. He was 1-for-3 with an RBI single before being lifted in the ninth inning for pinch hitter Mike Napoli, who drew a walk and scored the tying run in the Rangers' 4-3 walk-off victory.
Davis said before the game that he was excited to have the chance to play every day in the majors.
"I think it's huge," he said Saturday afternoon. "When you're in the minor leagues and you're playing every day, there's a certain mindframe that you go into the clubhouse knowing you're going to be in the lineup. Earlier this year when I got called up and was coming off the bench, it was a little bit different for me. I felt like I did a really good job adapting to that, so I'm happy to be back up here and be playing every day. I hate to see Adrian get hurt, but I'm glad the door opened for me."
Davis, 25, has blistered the ball in Triple-A Round Rock with a .368 average to go along with 24 homers and 66 RBIs in 48 games played. He has 58 strikeouts and 11 walks and has a 1.229 OPS. Davis has played third base and left field during his latest stint in the minors. He was taken out in the fifth inning of Friday's game shortly after Beltre hobbled to the dugout following the injury.
Over his past 26 games at Triple-A, Davis has hit .400 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs with 15 multihit games. He's played just 48 of the team's 100 games, yet his 24 homers are tied for fourth-most in the Pacific Coast League.
Washington has another option at third besides Davis. He could opt to put Young back there. Young played the position for two seasons before Beltre was signed this offseason. Young gets most of his at-bats as the designated hitter, but said Friday that he's ready to play third if needed.
"It's a loss without a doubt," Young said Saturday afternoon of Beltre's being out of the lineup. "We'll figure it out. We'd love to get him back in there as quickly as possible and get him healthy as quickly as possible. We know how to pick up the slack when valuable members of our team get banged up. We know how to deal with it. We'll deal with it and figure out how to win games."
Beltre signed a five-year, $80 million contract with a vesting option for a sixth year with the Rangers in the offseason. He had a calf strain that sidelined him for part of spring training, but he's been a very durable player for most of his career, including this season. Beltre was the only Ranger to have played in every game in 2011, including 99 starts in those 100 games.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.