Beltre could be on DL longer than expected

Beltre could be on DL longer than expected

CHICAGO -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list for three weeks with a sprained left thumb. The Rangers were hoping he would be sidelined for no more than four weeks, but that hope is fading.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

Beltre said he tried gripping and swinging a bat on Saturday, but it did not go well.

"I was searching for a grip that wouldn't hurt," Beltre said. "I am still searching. I have been trying for days, but it's painful. If it was just uncomfortable I would be fine. But it's pretty painful."

Beltre's last game was on May 31 against the Red Sox when he injured the thumb sliding into second base.

"It's disappointing not to be playing," Beltre said. "I expected to be back by now. It always seems longer than expected. Any injury takes longer because I expect to be back quickly."

The Rangers could have used Beltre this weekend. He is their best right-handed bat in a lineup dominated by left-handed hitters, and the White Sox threw three left-handers against the Rangers. Beltre is 5-for-16 with a home run in his career against Chris Sale.

Given the time off and the time it will take to get his swing back once he is pain free, it appears more likely that Beltre won't be back until after the All-Star break. The Rangers know that Beltre is doing everything he can to get back, and the bigger concern may be him trying to come back too soon.

"He knows what his presence in our lineup means and what he means to the ballclub, who we are playing and his determination to be playing and be back on the field," manager Jeff Banister said. "I have to be a part of the decision-making progress in moving it forward in the direction prudent for him and this ballclub."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.