In a somewhat surprising move, the Rangers announced less than 90 minutes before the start of Tuesday night's game against Oakland that Beltre was being activated from the disabled list after missing 19 games because of a sprained left thumb.
"He's not going to undo anything," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's going to hurt. It's not going to be totally pain free. He's aware of it. It's manageable. The medical staff feels like he can't hurt it further. He feels it, a little bit of a sting ... but no lingering effects."
Beltre had said as recently as Sunday that it was still painful to swing a bat and he didn't know when he would be playing. Texas inserted him into its starting lineup, batting fourth and playing third base.
"I don't pretend to think he's 100 percent," Daniels said. "Whether we waited another week or take a few games on a minor league assignment he was going to be dealing with it anyway."
To make room on the roster for Beltre, the Rangers optioned right-hander Jon Edwards to Triple-A Round Rock. Edwards has allowed four earned runs over six innings in 11 relief appearances for Texas this season.
Rookie slugger Joey Gallo, who was called up after Beltre went on the disabled list and started 13 games at third base, was in left field Tuesday.
Beltre jammed and cut his thumb sliding into a base on May 31, the same game that Josh Hamilton strained his left hamstring while running out his game-ending pinch-hit, two-run double in a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Hamilton had a pregame workout Tuesday, and is expected to start a rehab assignment Wednesday as the designated hitter for Double-A Frisco. Hamilton believes he could be back in the Rangers lineup as soon as Monday for start of a series in Baltimore.
"I'm good. I feel good," Hamilton said Tuesday. "You don't ever truly know until you get in game situations, so practice, running bases, running arcs, throwing, flyballs all that stuff. Everything's good. Been doing that around a week."