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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Beltran, Spokane Put Clamps On Everett Outfielder Comes Off Knee Injury, Makes Defensive Plays In 5-3 Victory

If not for a run-in with a former Spokane player, Carlos Beltran might not be with the Indians this summer.

Beltran has found a home, however, and his abilities were first showcased for the Northwest League Thursday at Everett Memorial Stadium before an overflow crowd of 3,202.

Beltran, playing in his first game in six weeks after a knee injury, made two crucial outfield plays to help Spokane beat Everett 5-3 in the rubber game of a season-opening three-game series.

The 19-year-old center fielder prevented an AquaSox run in the fifth inning with a strong throw home after a single with a runner at second base. In the seventh, he leapt and caught a liner to the wall with a man on second.

“I thought the runner (in the fifth) was going to go ahead and score, so I gave it my best effort,” Beltran, a native of Puerto Rico, said through interpreter Tony Miranda.

Beltran, Kansas City’s second-round selection in last year’s amateur draft, had arthroscopic surgery six weeks ago after running into former Indians player Mark Quinn during a game at Class A Lansing (Mich.)

On the fateful play, Beltran called for a fly over the shortstop’s head, then made the catch before meeting up with the solid, 185-pound Quinn.

Last year, his first professional season, Beltran played for current Indians skipper Bob Herold and batting coach Buster Keeton at the Gulf Coast rookie league in Florida. He started this year two jumps ahead, bounding over short-season A Spokane to long-season A Lansing of the Midwest League.

Although Spokane is considered a demotion, Beltran is happy to see his former coaches.

“I have more confidence with myself and my coaches because I’ve played with them before,” Beltran said. “There’s no rushing to feel comfortable.”

Beltran, who went 2 for 3, was replaced after he made a jumping, extended catch of James Rowson’s two-out liner in the seventh.

Beltran said he wasn’t hurt making the play, taking extra care to cushion the blow against the wall with his left, non-injured leg.

Rowson was also Beltran’s indirect victim in the fifth. Ramon Vazquez, whose one-out double was Everett’s first hit of the night, couldn’t score when Rowson singled to center one out later. Beltran’s throw home probably would have caught Vazquez if he had attempted the venture.

Spokane had a fairly comfortable cushion at the time, courtesy of Brandon Berger’s first professional homer, a three-run shot to right-center in the third.

Indians starter Aaron Lineweaver pitched three no-hit innings. Reliever Allen Sanders earned the win, allowing one run in three innings. Jason Simontacchi preserved the win with 1-2/3 shutout innings after Craig Sanders had allowed Rob Zachmann’s two-run double. Roman Escamilla had an RBI double in the sixth and Jason Layne an RBI grounder in the seventh for Spokane. Kenderick Moore had three hits and scored once.

Spokane opens its home schedule at 7:05 tonight with the first of four games against the Eugene Emeralds. Promotional highlights include a $10,000 Frisbee toss, a visit from former Houston Oilers entertainer Krazy George, and Rep. George Nethercutt throwing out the first pitch.

, DataTimes