Tag:Carlos Beltran
Posted on: March 16, 2011 1:25 pm

Mets' Beltran 'improving,' Santana tosses again

By Matt Snyder

It's been rumored the past few days that the Mets would have to put Carlos Beltran on the disabled list to start the season, but nothing has been made official. Wednesday, Beltran worked out and spoke with the media.

The 33-year-old outfielder's workout consisted of playing catch and taking 75 cuts from the right side. Beltran is a switch-hitter, but he's not swinging from the left side yet, as that would aggravate his still-recovering left knee. He's also been moved to right field from center for this season in attempt to both get on the field sooner and keep him as healthy as possible.

Thursday, Beltran is expected to again play catch and take some swings, this time upping the number of reps.

He did say he was hoping to be ready for opening day and is "improving."

"The pain is about 50 percent less than it was a week ago. ... I mean, it's not going to be 100 percent now because tendinitis doesn't get cured in a week. It's going to get better. I need to continue to strengthen the quads and work and try to make the leg feel better." (ESPN New York )

Being a national leaguer, the chances for the start of the season still seem bleak. If he could DH and just hit righty, that's one thing. Having to play in the outfield is quite another. A more realistic expectation for Beltran is probably mid-April.

As for the other injured star on the Mets, Johan Santana threw for the second consecutive day -- always a big test when coming off a major arm injury. From the sounds of things, the lefty was in good spirits, saying he felt "like a million bucks" and toying with the media a bit. (ESPN New York )

Santana, 32, is coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder. He made 29 starts last season, going 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 199 innings. His strikeout rate has tailed off in recent years, but his malign has been a bit much considering the other results. His ERA as a Met (2.85) is slightly better than it was in his four years as a full-time starter for the Twins (2.89) -- a period in which he won two Cy Youngs. There's every reason to believe once he's back fully healthy the Mets again have a bona fide ace.

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Posted on: March 10, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:02 pm

Pepper: Rites of spring

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Every spring we get excited and pick winners for every division, count out teams, give a couple of other teams a free ride to the World Series and then sit back and are surprised when it doesn't happen.

The thing is, in baseball and in life, things change quickly and can change drastically.

Since the start of spring training games -- a little less than two weeks -- we've seen the Cardinals and Brewers lose some of their luster in the NL Central and the Phillies go from 110 wins to a struggling offense. We've even seen Carlos Zambrano be the calm, collected, sane member of the Cubs staff.

It's a rite of spring to project and to then react and overreact to anything we see on the field in these four weeks of meaningless games. And even when meaningful games start, there's enough time for injuries to happen, players to return and players to emerge to really know what's going to happen at the end.

And that's the fun of it. We don't know. You never know.

Sure, we can all expect a Red Sox-Phillies World Series, but there's no guarantee that'll happen. But if it does, I guarantee the road there will be completely different than we all imagined. And that's why this game is so great. You just never know, even if you think you know.

FEELING 'HITTERISH': Nationals über-prospect Bryce Harper has been nearly as entertaining off the field as on it, as he coin a new term on Wednesday.

From the Washington Post:

"I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish. I'm trying to go up there and get some hacks in. I'm not going to be here for a long time. I want to try to go up there and get my hits in."

So, what's the definition of "hitterish" Adam Kilgore asked?

"You wake up in the morning, and you're feeling hitterish, you're going to get a hit that day," Harper said. "That's what it is. If you get a hit every day, you're feeling hitterish, for sure. Wake and rake."

Harper had an RBI single in his only at-bat on Wednesday and is hitting .357 this spring (in 14 at-bats).

BELTRAN BETTER: Carlos Beltran won't play in a Grapefruit League until next week, but he does feel "a lot better" and has not been "shut down." He took batting practice and played catch on Wednesday.

The Mets are looking at Willie Harris and Scott Hairston in right field if Beltran can't go, and are also giving Lucas Duda extra work in right field to prepare him to play there if needed. (New York Daily News)

GARLAND GROUNDED: Dodgers starter Jon Garland is expected to start the season on the disabled list after leaving Wednesday's game with a  strained oblique muscle on his left side. He had an MRI on Wednesday and the team is expected to announce the results today.

The team has already lost starter Vicente Padilla for at least the first month of the season after surgery to repair a nerve below his right elbow.

The injuries mean the once-pitching rich Dodgers are down to four starters, although the team won't need a fifth starter until April 12. John Ely and Tim Redding would likely be candidates if Garland and Padilla are still sidelined. (Los Angeles Times)

GOOD ADVICE: Maybe the Dodgers could get that old guy to take the mound -- the one working with Ted Lilly on Wednesday. That guy was Sandy Koufax.

"He still loves to watch baseball, loves the art of pitching," Lilly told MLB.com. "You know he was great. But he's also smart, he's passionate about pitching, he understands and sees things. Sometimes they are little things.

"I enjoy learning about baseball and talking about it with someone like Sandy Koufax, and I enjoy talking about it with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland. There are always ways to move forward, even if they are small."

ZOOM GROUNDED: Tigers manager Jim Leyland is planning his bullpen to start the season without Joel Zumaya, who has been sidelined with pain in his surgically repaired right elbow this spring.

"I don't think right now, from within camp or by trade, that you can replace a healthy Joel Zumaya -- and I emphasize a healthy  Joel Zumaya," Leyland told MLB.com. "So you have to just keep looking and try to come up with somebody, mostly from within."

The Tigers did go out and spend a lot of money on a set-up man, Joaquin Benoit, so the path leading up to closer Jose Valverde isn't barren. Ryan Perry is expected to handle seventh-inning duties, which he was expected to shoulder with Zumaya.

SALAZAR IMPROVING: Several Braves players said they feared for the worst after minor league manager Luis Salazar was hit in the face by a foul ball on Wednesday. 

"A ball hit that hard, at that short a distance, can certainly kill somebody if it hits them in the right spot," Chipper Jones told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm so glad to hear that he's conscious and breathing on his own."

Salazar was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Brian McCann and was airlifted to an Orlando hospital. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports Salazar suffered multiple facial fractures, but did not suffer any brain damage. He was able to interact with family members later Wednesday night.

D-BACKS COACH BREAKS FOOT: While not nearly as serious as Salazar's injury, the timing does take away several light-hearted remarks I could make, but Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams may miss the beginning of the regular season with a broken foot.

Williams took a line drive off the foot while throwing soft toss to his son, Jake, on Monday. He's expected to miss two-to-three weeks. (Arizona Republic)

FIRST AT FIRST: Indians catcher Carlos Santana played his first-ever professional game at first base on Wednesday.

Santana cleanly fielded all nine chances he got at first and also had a double in the Indians' 9-2 loss to the Padres.

The Indians are searching for ways to keep his bat in the lineup and keep the young catcher healthy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PILING ON: A New York  storage company is joining in on making jokes about the city's easiest target -- the Mets.

In an ad on the city's subways for Manhattan Mini Storage, it says, "Why leave a city that has six professional sports teams, and also the Mets?" (New York Times)

WHEN HIDEKI MET RICKY: New A's slugger Hideki Matsui has connected with team icon Rickey Henderson, whom Matsui admired growing up in Japan -- and the feeling is mutual. (MLB.com)

HIGH PRAISE: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says 19-year-old left-hander Manny Banuelos is the best pitching prospect he's ever seen.

"I like everything about him," Rivera told ESPNNewYork.com. "The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitchers, he has the ability to do that."

WHITE RETIRES: Former West Virginia and Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White has retired from baseball.

After White was released by the Dolphins last September, White signed a minor-league contract with the Royals and played in the Fall Instructional League. On Wednesday, the team said White did not report to spring training.

The Dolphins drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. He was also drafted by the Angels, Reds and Yankees. (Associated Press)

RISING WATER: It's been raining here in Cincinnati, but check out just how much -- this photo from Reds assistant media relations director Jamie Ramsey gives you a big-picture view of just how high the water is on the banks of the Ohio River.

He adds another picture of flood gates set up around Great American Ball Park. (Better Off Red)

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 11:40 am

Mets move Beltran to right field

Posted by Matt Snyder

A rumor became reality Monday, as the Mets confirmed Carlos Beltran will move to right field this season, leaving Angel Pagan in center.

Reports indicate the idea was Beltran's (via New York Daily News ), as his surgically repaired knee isn't responding quick enough and a move to right will hopefully alleviate the pressure on the knee. Beltran hasn't been able to play yet this spring due to the swelling and discomfort.

The 33 year old is in the final year of his once-gargantuan contract. He played just 64 games last season after only appearing in 81 the previous year. His last full season, 2008, saw excellent numbers, as he went .284/.376/.500 with 27 home runs and 112 RBI. When healthy, Beltran is a quality center fielder, but it appears the move was made to save his legs a bit.

Pagan, 29, did a good job last season in center, even if not great. He hit .290/.340/.425 with 11 home runs and 80 RBI.

It's worth noting that Andy Martino of the Daily News just tweeted manager Terry Collins said, regarding his discussion with Beltran, "it was the most professional conversation I've ever had with a player."

It is an admirable move by Beltran, as many players allow ego to get in the way in these situations. Instead, Beltran made what he thought was the best move for both the team and his recovery.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 25, 2011 8:46 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:37 am

Pepper: Spring is time for rebirth

Carlos Beltran is making some progress on his rehab program, as he ran the bases Wednesday. "That's a huge sign, because he told me when he starts running the bases he'll be close to playing. So that was a big sign for me," manager Terry Collins said (ESPN New York ). The five-time All-Star hasn’t played a full season since 2008, but at age 33, it’s not out of the question to return to form for at least a year or two. He played last September, but was shut down the last week when his bothersome knee flared up.

Disclaimer alert: he hasn't pitched in a game since June 13, 2009, he's 38 years old and it's awfully early in camp. Still, Jason Isringhausen is impressing Mets brass thus far. Armed with a new changeup, Izzy has been good enough to draw the word "outstanding," from Collins. (New York Times )

Elsewhere, Brandon Webb is still on a long road back himself. He threw "60 to 65 pitches off flat ground" Thursday. He'll throw again Friday and if there are no setbacks, the Rangers will put him on the mound either Sunday or Monday (ESPN Dallas ). The right-hander, who finished in the top two of Cy Young voting three consecutive seasons before falling injured, hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since April 6, 2009. Webb, 31, is a complete wild card this season for the defending AL champs.

And though it isn't near as long a road back as Webb, Jake Peavy of the White Sox is feeling very optimistic, though he's careful not to get too far ahead of himself. "I'm far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point," Peavy told MLB.com . "But I can't push it and I've got to be cautious." In fact, the White Sox’s potential ace might be on track to start April 6, if everything goes as well as it possibly could. The 29 year old went 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA in 17 starts in 2010, last pitching July 6. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair a detached muscle in his pitching arm.

ABDOMINAL ANNOYANCE: Franklin Gutierrez was forced to fly back to Seattle to visit with some doctors about an ongoing stomach issue Thursday. The center fielder has suffered severe stomach pains on occasion since late last season, to the point that he couldn't eat well and his play was affected. It could help explain some of his offensive woes, as Gutierrez went .212/.253/.304 in his last 75 games at the plate. He did tell reporters last week his issue was gone, but it has apparently resurfaced and he'll likely need to get on some sort of medication to alleviate the pains. (Seattle Times )

SLIM CC: After dropping 25 pounds this offseason, CC Sabathia says he can already tell the difference when it comes to his stamina. "In years past, I would get a little gassed in my bullpens once I got 30, 40 pitches in, but I felt pretty good," he told the New York Times . "I was able to keep my mechanics together and work on stuff that I need to work on." If this carries over the regular season, watch out. The big fella has averaged 240 innings a season since 2007, averaging just a tick above seven innings per start. And he has more stamina?

On a lighter note, he noted the toughest tests for him during the season are road trips to Kansas City (BBQ) and Chicago (deep-dish pizza). Amen, CC.

BREWER BARGAIN: As Ryan Braun watches peers cash in with what some consider ludicrous contracts, one might wonder if he feels like his eight-year, $45 million contract -- of which he has five years remaining -- is short-changing him. The reality is that with the numbers Braun puts up, factoring in his age (27) and durability (at least 151 games in each of his three full seasons), the contract is an absolute steal for Milwaukee. To Braun's credit, he's not griping. He's only thinking about the playoffs, he says. As for the money thing, he told MLB.com: "I get it, but it's a non-issue. I pay attention to what goes on around the game, obviously, but I'm happy for all of those guys. I agreed to a deal three years ago that goes five [more] years, and I'm excited and honored to be here." (MLB.com )

IRON MAN? The ever-polarizing A.J. Pierzynski wants to catch every game this season. Yes, all 162. There's no need to get into the realism of that one, what with his career high in games being 140, his offensive skills deteriorating and his age hitting 34. Plus, there's nothing wrong with wanting to play every game. More guys should want that. The juice in this article is the always-hilarious Ozzie Guillen, who once said he hates his catcher only a little less than the competition. This time around, he again said Pierzynski annoys him and that "sometimes I wish he wouldn’t even come to the ballpark." It should be noted, Guillen was laughing, thus, saying everything tongue-in-cheek. (MLB.com )

It's always sad when veteran players have an ego too big to take a younger player under their wing. A football example comes to mind: you know, something with a guy wearing number four and a team that just won the Super Bowl. Anyway, I digress. We're talking about baseball. And Marlon Byrd of the Cubs has been working with top Cubs prospect Brett Jackson this spring. They're both center fielders, and Byrd's even embracing the inevitable for the sake of the franchise. "Last year, he really didn't know me," Byrd told MLB.com . "Now I say things and he understands that it's to help him. I even have to sit him down and say, 'I've got to help you to get ready because if you're going to move me to right field, you have to be ready. If not, I'm capable of playing at 34, 35 years old.' He got a kick out of that. He laughed."

RESTORING POWER IN THE BAY: ESPN’s SweetSpot blog takes a look at Jason Bay, specifically his power. Or, if we’re talking about 2010, a lack thereof. Four times in Bay’s career he went yard at least 30 times in a season. After signing a big contract with the Mets, he did so just six times in 401 plate appearances in 2010. There were health problems and an adjustment to a new, cavernous park, but the output was still horrifying, as Bay slugged just .402 (his career slugging percentage is .508). Bay said he believes 30 home runs this season is "reasonable," and points to David Wright -- whose home run total jumped from 10 to 29 in his second season with Citi Field as a home.

Remember how Carl Crawford was creeped out about the Red Sox virtually tailing him over the winter before inking him to a colossal contract? Johnny Damon, part of the group replacing Crawford in Tampa Bay and former Red Sox outfielder, isn't surprised. He even offered up an example of when it had happened in the past. "I know Boston had followed guys before like Mo Vaughn especially; they wanted to see what he was doing all the time. The Boston fans, they follow you around too to see what you’re doing, it seems like they’re everywhere. But when a team's investing $142 million they probably have a right to know every little bit of your history," he told the St. Petersburgh Times . Interesting. Damon wasn’t anywhere close to Boston when Vaughn departed via free agency, but he could very well be correct. And if he is, the Red Sox did their homework well. Check out Vaughn’s stats by year -- right when he departed Boston, his regression began.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: January 17, 2011 7:01 pm

Mets batting order revealed

Terry Collins revealed his batting order to ESPN Sunday, with the first six spots etched in stone.

The skipper also promised that there would not be significant adjustments on a day-to-day basis.

That means, for a large percentage of Mets games, the lineup will kick off with:

SS Jose Reyes
CF/RF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF/CF Carlos Beltran
LF Jason Bay
1B Ike Davis

There's two more spots up for grabs, but those will change depending on who wins the second base and catcher's roles. Josh Thole is expected to pair with Ronny Paulino behind the dish and the batting order could change depends on who starts. Paulino would make sense in the No. 7 spot against left-handers, for example, given his prowess against them.

The second-base job is less clear, with Luis Castillo, Ruben Tejada, Luis Hernandez, Brad Emaus and Daniel Murphy all battling for playing time. Murphy appears the heavy favorite and would likely bat seventh against right-handers with Thole eighth.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 11:36 am

Possible Mets-Diamondbacks blockbuster?

Carlos Beltran
A report from a Puerto Rican newspaper says the Mets and Diamondbacks are considering a monster trade. It seems like a pretty unlikely scenario, but hey, the word "rumors" is right in the title of this blog, so it's our duty to report it.

According to El Nuevo Dia (link in Spanish), Puerto Rico's biggest paper, the deal would have the Mets sending outfielder Carlos Beltran, shortstop Jose Reyes and top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia to Arizona in exchange for outfielder Justin Upton and shortstop Stephen Drew.

I'm not sure this has any legs, at least unless there's a lot more to the details, because Mets general manager Sandy Alderson would have jumped all over it. Upton is signed for five more years at a reasonable price and Drew is under club control for two more years. And the Mets would be dumping $18.5 million in salary for Beltran and $11 million for Reyes, with both due to be free agents after next season.

The only way this would presumably work would be for the Mets to send a boatload of money to the Diamondbacks in the deal, but even so, I don't know why Kevin Towers would do it. He's supposedly been asking for a huge package of players for Upton alone, so it doesn't make sense that he'd move both of his best young players for Mejia and two expiring contracts.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 11, 2010 4:10 pm

Beltran would consider waiving no-trade clause

Carlos Beltran Carlos Beltran, speaking on a conference call with Mets reporters on Thursday, said he'd move to right field if the Mets feel that's best and would consider waiving his no-trade clause if asked. If should be noted Beltran is owed $18.5 million for 2011, the last year of his contract, so waiving his no-trade clause is more than likely a moot point. But hey, it's still possible, I guess.

• On his no-trade clause: "The process will be, when they approach me, I have to call my agent, call Scott [Boras]. I have to listen. I know that I have the no-trade clause, but if the team is searching or looking to trade a guy, I have to listen. I want to be a Met. I want to finish my career with the Mets. But right now, my mentality isjust to come back next year 100 percent to help this team win a championship. But, at the same time, if the organization is looking at different options, I have to be aware."

• On his knee: "I'm not doing anything right now [baseball-wise]. I'm doing more bike, cardiovascular exercise. I plan to start my full training Nov. 15. … I'm not going to pick up the bat until I am close to getting to spring training, or maybe December. But I know that this year I have to focus on my lower body. That seems like the part that's given me trouble the past couple of years."

• On his knee brace: "At the end of the season, I really got used to it. I didn't feel like it was something that was causing me to do different things in the field. I talked to [Dr. Richard] Steadman. Right now he wants me to continue to wear that brace. if something comes up later, then we have to discuss it. But, so far, I have to wear that brace."

• Moving to right field: "Personally, me, feeling the way I feel and looking forward to getting to spring training feeling 100 percent, I just still feel that I can play center field. But if the organization has different things in mind, then we have to talk about that. I'm all for doing whatever is good for the team. I have neve been a selfish type of player."

The transcription is from ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 27, 2010 7:15 pm

Beltran on hot streak

Carlos Beltran Carlos Beltran may be in the middle of reversing his play that had many wondering if the Mets would ship him out of town.

Over Beltran's last 22 games, the center fielder has been scorching with a .333/.382/.630 mark with five homers in 89 plate appearances. Beltran was 3-for-4 with two blasts against Philadelphia Sunday.

His tear has lifted his overall line to .257/.344/.431 in 251 PA -- still way off his normal production, but on the rise after seeing his two latest seasons cut short to injury.

"I feel like I’m letting the ball get deep," Beltran told the New Jersey Star-Ledger . "That’s something that I wasn’t doing early. And I know that my power is when I let the ball get deep."

Hitting coach Howard Johnson is seeing Beltran's legs get under him, something manager Jerry Manuel seconded. Beltran's legs are important as the primary driver of power, as well as being essential to being able to shoot the ball the opposite field, which is Beltran's goal.

"I’ve never doubted in what I can do," Beltran said. "But when injuries come and you’re not 100 percent, that really affects the game. I believe that if I’m healthy, I’m going to be able to have a good season."

Beltran and the Mets have had an acrimonious relationship as of late, with the 33-year-old undergoing surgery in the offseason with what the Mets allege was without team permission. That has fueled speculation Beltran won't finish out the last year of a seven-year deal signed with New York, but the poor recently play only added fuel to the fire.

The Mets need someone of Beltran's caliber at the top of his game to produce, and with Beltran entering a contract year, the best fit may just be each other.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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