Beltran gets hit, makes sliding catch for Mets
Carlos Beltran looks ready for opening day.
The All-Star outfielder, bothered by both knees this spring, got
a hit and made a nice, sliding catch Tuesday as the New York Mets
beat the Washington Nationals 8-2.
”I feel good,” Beltran said after going 1 for 3. ”I feel like
I had good at-bats and was able to see a lot of pitches.”
The game marked Beltran’s first appearance in a major league
exhibition since he was the designated hitter three weeks ago.
Assuming he gets through Wednesday’s final spring training game
against the Marlins, he should be set to go when the Mets open the
season Friday night at Florida.
”I thought he looked great and it was tremendous seeing him
back in the lineup,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. ”It makes a
huge difference in our lineup with him hitting fourth.”
Beltran delivered a first-inning single, but the real indication
of his health came in the bottom of the fourth, when he came
sliding in toward the right-field line to snag a sinking liner by
Jerry Hairston Jr.
”Yeah, it was a good play, but at the same time … there are
going to be plays where I have to slide,” Beltran said. ”I have
to do it. I can’t protect anything. I have to go for it and try to
catch the ball.”
The Mets are counting on that. They moved the three-time Gold
Glove winner from center field to right in part because of the
emergence of Angel Pagan in center field, but also to protect
Beltran’s surgically-repaired right knee and his troublesome left
knee, which has tendinitis.
Beltran recently took part in a simulated game and played in two
minor league games. The 33-year-old was happy to be around his
teammates and playing against major league competition.
”It’s more energy, for sure,” Beltran said. ”Going and
playing in the minor leagues it’s boring, honestly.”
The Mets’ joy of Beltran’s return was tempered by the news that
left fielder Jason Bay felt discomfort in his left rib cage during
batting practice Tuesday and was scratched from the lineup. Bay
returned to Port St. Lucie to be examined by team doctors. The Mets
will have until Thursday to decide whether or not to put him on the
”At this particular time, we have to be very cautious, because
I dont want to lose this guy for a month.” Collins said.
Washington, meanwhile, was able to get through the spring
without any major health concerns.
The Nationals won five of their last seven games and finished
15-14 this spring. Manager Jim Riggleman cited the emergence of
Michael Morse as the starter in left field and Rick Ankiel in
center as two of the team’s biggest accomplishments in preparation
for this season.
”I feel real good about the ballclub,” Riggleman said. ”I’m
anxious to see how good we can pitch with this athleticism behind
us. That’s going to be huge as to how good we can be. I feel we’ll
have a good offensive ballclub, but … everybody goes through
periods where you’re just not getting it done offensively for a few
NOTES: Nationals starter RHP Jordan Zimmermann only went three
innings and threw 32 pitches in the second inning alone, giving up
four earned runs. He said he was rushing himself too much. …
Washington reliever Drew Storen had a poor outing in his final
spring appearance. He gave up four runs on seven hits and threw 35
pitches in just two-thirds of an inning. … Nationals LHP Sean
Burnett threw a scoreless inning. He did not give up a run in 9 1-3
innings this spring. … Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche hit a solo home
run in the fourth. C Ivan Rodriguez played two innings at first
base. … Mets LHP Pat Misch has cleared waivers and has been
outrighted to the minor leagues. He is expected to accept the
assignment. … The Mets also selected the contracts of RHP Blaine
Boyer and ultility man Willie Harris from Triple-A Buffalo and
designated RHP Manny Acosta for assignment.