Appreciative Beltre feted for joining 3K hit club

On DL with hamstring strain, Rangers 3B 'humbled and grateful'

Appreciative Beltre feted for joining 3K hit club

ARLINGTON -- This one was clearly difficult for Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.

The Rangers honored Beltre before Friday's game against the Yankees for getting his 3,000th hit July 30. The ceremony was well-done and Beltre was deserving, but it was hard because he remains on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

"It's bittersweet where I am," Beltre said. "I'm humbled and grateful for what they are doing. It would be nice to do it and then come back to the field and help these guys."

Beltre injured the hamstring Aug. 31, and the original diagnosis was he would be out four-plus weeks. So far, there has been nothing to suggest he will be back quicker than that. Beltre has not yet resumed swinging a bat.

"Obviously, it's not progressing as far as I want it to be," Beltre said. "It's supposed to be four-plus weeks, but for me right now, it's a little slow. Hopefully I can jump ahead of the curve, start feeling better and increase my workouts."

Rangers honor Beltre

So Beltre was strictly a spectator as the Rangers paid tribute to the double he hit off Orioles pitcher Wade Miley at Globe Life Park. That double made him the 31st player in Major League history to reach 3,000 hits.

"I don't want to get used to it, but it is nice to be recognized by the team and the organization," Beltre said. "I really appreciate it."

The ceremony began with a proclamation from Jose Tomas Perez, the Dominican Republic's ambassador to the United States: "On behalf of the Dominican government and people, we recognize Adrian Beltre for his outstanding career in the Major Leagues … and his distinguished contribution to our national pride."

Beltre was joined on the field by his wife, Sandra, his daughters Cassandra and Canila and his son Adrian Jr. Arlington mayor Jeff Williams announced that Sept. 8 was Adrian Beltre Day in the city and manager Jeff Banister paid tribute to Beltre on behalf of his teammates.

Beltre reaches 3,000 hits

"I speak for every one of these guys," Banister said. "As we suit up with you, we aspire to be like you."

Master of ceremonies Eric Nadel then read a message from one of the greatest players in the history of the game who finished with 3,283 hits: "Welcome to the club … I want to congratulate you. It's not an easy thing to do. Keep at it. We all love to see you hit. Respectfully, Willie Mays."

After that came video tributes from Pedro Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Paul Molitor, Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez. Hall of Famer George Brett, who had 3,154 hits for the most by a third baseman, congratulated Beltre and had a request.

"When you get to 3,153, retire," Brett said. "Five years after that, I will see you in Cooperstown."

Former Rangers infielder Michael Young paid tribute by saying, "Adrian Beltre is the best game-time player I have ever seen," and then introduced a video tribute of Beltre's career narrated Bob Costas.

The Rangers then presented Beltre with a Polaris Razor all-terrain vehicle driven onto the field by shortstop Elvis Andrus. It is a vehicle that Beltre had high on his Christmas wish list.

"It comes complete with Elvis as your driver," Nadel said.

Beltre closed the ceremony with a few remarks.

"I'm really humbled to be standing here," Beltre said. "I feel like I'm retiring but I'm still playing."

Beltre thanked his family, the organization, his teammates and Rangers fans.

"Thank you for being supportive of me and the organization," Beltre said. "We hope to give you a championship soon."

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.