When Adrian Beltre left the game an inning after he had grabbed at his hamstring running to first, it was just another day for Red Sox fans. After all, they had already lost half their team to injury, so seeing one more All-Star hit the disabled list...well, it was par for the course.
However, while Beltre did not play in Friday's game against the Texas Rangers, this is nothing new for the third baseman, and nothing he was going to let get in his way.
"Hamstrings," Beltre once again answers without hesitation when asked what has been the most difficult injury to overcome during his professional career.
"Some days my hamstring was so bad I couldn't even walk. Sometimes it hurts to jog. Especially some day games, when you get up in the morning and they are just killing me. I've always had hamstring problems, especially on the left side ... I've learned how to play through it every year.
"The first few weeks my hamstrings are free but after that I have to deal with it."
This recent injury isn't something that's going to keep Beltre off the field. After all, little does. Beltre has averaged over 145 games played per season. And the main outlier came last year, when he played only 111 games thanks to a (steel yourselves, male readers) bleeding testicle thanks to a ground ball and a decision to forgo typical protective equipment. I, for one, am not about to blame him for missing time with that.
The wear-and-tear of the year doesn't seem to get to Beltre particularly either. With a career OPS nearly 70 points higher in the second half, a hurting Beltre does not mean a less valuable Beltre. Good news for a Red Sox team that is in desperate need of his continued contributions.
How is it that Beltre learned to play through the pain? By getting beat up a lot:
"It was during a fight. I still have a bone bruise on the outside of my hand. I still played (Little League) baseball," he said, pointing to his right hand which was broken in the altercation.
"You play through something like that and three or four days later you're OK," explained Beltre, who also credits his older cousins for roughing him up just enough to teach some valuable lessons.
So thank you, opponents and abusers of Adrian Beltre in years past. You've made him what we need him to be today.