By Evan Brunell
"I think it has helped his legs a lot," Collins says of the 34-year-old. Beltran was moved off center to start the year after having microfracture knee surgery in 2010. He's also struggled with knee ailments in the past, so Beltran kicked off the year in right field with Angel Pagan moving to center. The defensive alignment was clearly for the better, and it remains the best solution.
However, it hasn't benefited Beltran offensively. His .271/.354/.471 mark thus far in 96 plate appearances with three homers would represent his worst OPS since 2005 if not for last season's .768 mark due to his ailments. Prior to 2005, his .825 OPS in 2011 would be his worst since all the way back in 2000, his second season in the majors with significant playing time (413 PA).
While it's too early to put any major credence in defensive numbers, he may have improved his knees but his defense has taken a major hit with -2 defensive runs saved and -23.1 in Ultimate Zone Rating. Even without knowing what these numbers measure, you can tell they are not positive numbers. Beltran will need to turn that around quickly to avoid becoming a liability in right. It is curious how bad of a start he's gotten off in right (again, it needs to be mentioned that deensive numbers are not really accurate until there are a few years of data, but his start is not auspicious) given his overall prowess in center over his career.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.