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Sunday May 26th, 2019 1:36AM

Beltré missing baseball less than he thought after 21 years

By The Associated Press
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DALLAS (AP) — Adrián Beltré was afraid of how he was going to feel after announcing his retirement last November, a decision the former third baseman had pretty much reached privately a few months earlier during the season.

While at peace after 21 MLB seasons and 3,166 hits, Beltré still wasn't sure what to expect when the Texas Rangers went to spring training, or when they opened this season without him.

"I thought I was going to miss it more, but I'm good," Beltre said Wednesday. "So far it's been good, so hopefully stays that way."

Beltre's appearance at the SMU Athletic Forum came about 3½ weeks before he will be back in Texas when the Rangers retire his No. 29 jersey on June 8.

"I've seen the guys play, and talked to the guys and every game I see, I don't feel like I wish I could be there," said Beltré, who passed a big test during spring training when he visited the Rangers' complex when his 12-year-old son was playing a baseball tournament in Arizona. "I miss the guys, hanging around the guys. ... Beyond that, I don't think that I'm missing the game that much."

The Dominican-born Beltré, the career hits leader for foreign-born players , turned 40 last month. Many of his former teammates were able to celebrate his birthday with him at his California home, since the Rangers' first road trip was against the Los Angeles Angels.

While the Rangers are about one-fourth of the way through their 162-game season, Beltré spends his days with his family, transporting his three kids to school and their various activities.

"Retirement is nice, but getting a little busy, too," he said.

Beltré spent the last eight seasons of his Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Rangers. The four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner went to his only World Series in 2011, his first season in Texas, and joined the 3,000-hit club in a Rangers home game two years ago.

He hit a Texas-high .273 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs in 119 games last season, but was on the disabled list twice because of a strained left hamstring. Calf and hamstring issues in 2017 limited him to 94 games, his fewest since 77 as a 19-year-old rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

When he was hurt last season, Beltré said he pretty much decided it was time to retire. But he never publicly revealed what he was thinking, not even to his immediate family, and allowed himself a chance to mentally prepare that his playing career was going to end.

"It gave me time to force my mind to this is it," said Beltré, a .286 career hitter with 477 homers whose 2,759 career games at third base are second only to Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.

Beltré, who was a key leader in the Rangers clubhouse, doesn't expect to be a coach any time soon — if at all.

"I don't think I have the patience for it. I don't say I will never do it, I just don't see myself doing it," he said. "I was away my house pretty much for 20-something years, and coaching takes more time. ... I don't think I can do that to my family, at least not yet."

___

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