Hard-headed Beltre homers, avoids injury

Hard-headed Beltre homers, avoids injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre wasn't too concerned about the bump on the head. That's not what was bothering him after the Rangers' 6-5 loss to the Twins on Sunday afternoon.

Beltre got smacked in the head by Mike Napoli's hard foul ball in the third inning, but it was his inability to drive home the tying or go-ahead runs in his next two at-bats that were more on his mind after the game.

"I didn't come through, that's what bothers me," Beltre said. "Those are situations where I should come through and didn't."

The Rangers were just glad he was able to stay in the game after what happened in the third. Beltre, who hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat, had flied out to start the inning was standing on the top step of the dugout watching Napoli hit. His bottom half was protected by the fence but his top half was exposed and he was not wearing his helmet.

Napoli pulled a pitch from Jose Berrios and hit a one-hop smash that nailed Beltre flush in the back of the head as he tried to duck away. He immediately disappeared into the tunnel to the clubhouse with trainers Kevin Harmon and Matt Lucero, and manager Jeff Banister right behind him.

"Obviously, it was pretty scary," Banister said.

Beltre was being used at designated hitter on Sunday, so he didn't have to return to the field after Napoli struck out to end the inning. Instead, he remained in the clubhouse undergoing the concussion protocol and a thorough examination.

"All the tests came back negative," Banister said. "We checked on him a number of times and the medical staff put him through a number of tests. He wanted to continue but we rely on our medical staff in those situations."

Beltre said after the game he was fine.

"I saw the ball, but I turned away because I didn't want it to hit me in the face," Beltre said. "I'm a hard-headed guy, as you guys should know by now. There is a little bump, but it goes well with my head."

Beltre returned in the fifth, coming up with Shin-Soo Choo at third, Elvis Andrus at second and one out. The game was 5-5 at that point so Twins manager Paul Molitor moved his infield in. Beltre hit a hard grounder right at shortstop Jorge Polanco, who threw home to cut down Choo trying to score.

The Twins were leading 6-5 in the top of the seventh when Beltre came up with two outs and Andrus on third base. This time he hit a soft line drive up the middle and second baseman Ehire Adrianza raced to his right to make a terrific inning-ending catch.

Adrianza's nice defensive play

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.