Pagan agrees Beltran should be CF for Mets
Angel Pagan is prepared to hand center field back to a healthy
Pagan started in center for the New York Mets during the first
half of last season while Beltran recovered from knee surgery. New
manager Terry Collins said this week that he envisions Beltran in
center, and Pagan agrees.
”If Carlos is healthy, he’ll be the center fielder, no doubt
about that,” Pagan said Friday after arriving at spring training.
”I’m just looking forward to seeing him healthy because if he is
healthy, we all know what kind of damage he can do.”
Beltran has to demonstrate that his knees allow him to cover
enough ground in center. If he doesn’t show that, he could be
shifted to right – which would land Pagan back in center.
Collins said Friday he hopes to have a decision by middle of
”I’m just going to bring the best I can bring to the team,”
Pagan said. ”It doesn’t matter if it’s in center field, right
field, whatever. I just want to be the best I can be for the
organization to have a successful season and see if we can make it
to the playoffs.”
Pagan had a .985 fielding percentage in 94 games in center last
year, and he hit .290 with 11 homers and 69 RBIs. Beltran batted
.255 with seven homers, playing 33 error-free games in the
This is the first time Pagan has arrived at spring training as a
projected starter. He said the discussion over who should be in
center makes him uncomfortable.
”Sometimes people see this as a competition, a rivalry,” Pagan
said. ”This is not a rivalry. This is for the benefit of the team.
I see this as a great problem to have because we are going to have
two center fielders playing right next to each other, and with
Jason Bay (in left), the guy’s got great defense, too. So if you
see that, you’re going to see pretty much the best defensive
outfield in the National League.”
Pagan said he idolized Beltran, a fellow native of Puerto Rico,
when he was coming up as a young player. The two met for the first
time shortly before Pagan was drafted by the Mets in 1999. Beltran
was playing for the Royals.
”He was a big future star from Puerto Rico, and I used to watch
him a lot,” Pagan said. ”He’s an unbelievable defensive player,
an unbelievable offensive player, and when I saw him come up with
the Kansas City Royals, I saw a superstar coming up. It was the
future for my country, so I had to try to follow the example.”