Beltran limps, Pagan sprints

Carlos Beltran‘s arthroscopic knee surgery in January triggered a domino effect: Did the Mets know about the surgery? When will he return? Who will play centerfield? The Mets front office responded, no, no idea and then went out and traded for Gary Matthews Jr.

In the immortal words of Don Henley, “In a New York Minute, everything can change …”

It’s mid-June and the Mets have won six straight, trailing the Atlanta Braves by one-half game in the National League East. Meanwhile, Beltran is reportedly still limping around Port St. Lucie playing in extended Spring Training games.

When will Beltran return? That hasn’t changed. The Mets have no timetable.

Does it matter?

Not as long as Angel Pagan continues to produce.

He started the season as the fourth outfielder, behind Matthews Jr. Through Wednesday, Pagan is second on the team in average (.288), stolen bases (14) and runs scored (37). The Mets record is 10-2 since manager Jerry Manuel moved him into the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Pagan does all the little things that don’t end up in the box score, including doling out whipped cream pies.

So where does Beltran fit in?

If healthy, Beltran will provide legitimate power and consistency in the middle of the order. Jeff Francoeur could eventually be the odd man out. He is streaky and has a history of falling into prolonged slumps.

The Mets couldn’t have asked for better results. What looked like disaster In January has turned into this June question: Can the Mets find enough playing time for a five-time All-Star?

That’s not a bad thing.

On Tuesday, Mets GM Omar Minaya said Beltran is “close” to returning.

“He is continuing work out, to swing the bat, to run. Like all these things, of course, it’s how does he feel the next day?” he said.

No rush.

4 comments for “Beltran limps, Pagan sprints

  1. BaysideBillyD
    June 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Good points all around.
    Pagan has far exceeded any reasonable expectations we may have had. He is even running the bases more intelligently than in years past.
    Frenchy is definitely going to have his playing time cut if/when Beltran returns… it’s a shame too, as having his arm (and reputation) in RF makes baserunners think twice before going 1st to 3rd or 2nd to home.
    This team is really playing well, and on some level, I am not thrilled about Beltran coming back. This team has some really good chemistry going and; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  2. John
    June 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Billy makes a great point about Pagan’s baserunning. He has hustled his tail off, while playing heads up! His defense is a lot better too. I believe Manuel will continue to play the hot hand whether it’s Pagan, Francoeur, Bay or Beltran. Remember, Pagan can play left or center too … nice work Dan!

  3. BaysideBillyD
    June 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Goes to show that this is a good year so far…
    By this time, many of us (myself included) thought that Jerry Manuel was going to be in the rearview mirror, with Omar in tow. Now, on June 17, we find ourselves in the mix and lukewarm about the return of Beltran.
    All I know is that this has heart and is fun to watch. What a far cry from last year.

  4. Dan Stack
    June 18, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Yeah, its strange that we have come to what do we do without Beltran to how do we fit him in?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: