Beltre reflects, looks ahead after tough season

Beltre reflects, looks ahead after tough season

ARLINGTON -- It's safe to say this wasn't the season Adrian Beltre envisioned when players reported to Spring Training in February.

He battled through a pair of calf injuries that kept him out until May, and he shrugged off a strained left hamstring in September and cut the expected return date in half to try and help his team make a run at the postseason. But now that the Rangers have been eliminated from playoff contention with a handful of games still left to play, Beltre is able to reflect on how much this season didn't go as planned.

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"For me, it's a disappointing season no matter what I do personally," Beltre said. "I'm disappointed because I believe this team had a good enough team to play in the playoffs and hopefully do something even bigger than that. But the fact that I wasn't able to be in the field enough to help these guys, it's been worse in that area -- I think the [fewest] games I've played since my rookie year [when] I came up late. And to me, that's a disappointment."

Sandwiched in between the injuries was Beltre's historic climb to 3,000 hits, which culminated on July 30. He appreciates the achievement and certainly celebrated it, but realizing his team doesn't have anything to play for but pride outweighs any sense of satisfaction.

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That's just the type of guy Beltre is, and everyone knows it. He clearly wasn't 100 percent on Tuesday, when he played third base despite being unable to move well. Now that the postseason is unattainable, he likely won't play again this year so he can finally rest his body.

"I think if you ask Adrian, the thing that makes him special in a sense ... is that there is never a sense that 'I've done enough,' if he's healthy or not," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "No matter if he's healthy or not, there's always the quest to be more and wanting or needing to do more. In this case, this has been a challenge from the very start. Probably a time to start the healing process and get ready for next year."

The time off also gives Beltre a chance to think about his plans going forward. He wants to stay in Texas. He loves the team, the organization as a whole and the people in it, so the ideal scenario would be for him to stay with the Rangers and compete for a chance to win the World Series.

"We'll sit down and talk before everyone heads home next week," said general manager Jon Daniels, who added that he typically meets with Beltre at the end of each year.

Beltre wants to win. If the management decides the team will embark on a rebuilding process, Beltre says he'll make it clear he'd prefer to go somewhere else with the goal to win. That would be an extremely tough decision for him, he admits.

"[If I got] my choice, I don't want to go anywhere," Beltre said. "Even, say, if I go to a team like Cleveland, there's no guarantee [I'll win a title]. So when the decision comes, I'll sit around with my family and think about what I want to do. But it's just like, I don't want to leave a team that I'm pretty comfortable and believe in my teammates, to go to a team that is not guaranteed."

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.