Royals CF Carlos Beltran is putting on a strong late-season push to overtake the Rangers' Jeff Zimmerman in the American League rookie of the year race.

Beltran entered the weekend series against the Rangers batting .290 with 20 home runs, 93 RBI and 95 runs scored. His 22 stolen bases made him only the third 20-20 player in Royals history, joining Amos Otis (1978) and Bo Jackson (1988-89).

"He's a great kid, a great player," Royals Manager Tony Muser said. "In my opinion, he's the rookie of the year."

Voters have tended to favor everyday players over pitchers in the last 20 years of AL rookie of the year voting. Since 1979, pitchers have won the award only twice, Baltimore's Gregg Olson in 1989 and New York's Dave Righetti in 1981.

RAMIREZ OUT: Manny Ramirez, leading the majors with 144 RBI, was forced to leave Cleveland's game in the first inning last night after being hit in the right knee by a pitch from Chicago's Jim Parque.

Ramirez suffered a bruise, and his status was day-to-day.

Ramirez, batting .337 with 39 home runs, bent over at the waist for a couple of minutes after being hit. He walked gingerly off the field with a trainer and Manager Mike Hargrove.

It was the 12th time this season Ramirez has been hit by a pitch.

Ray Durham of the White Sox was hit by Dave Burba leading off the bottom of the first, and plate umpire Ted Barrett warned both dugouts against further trouble.