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Saturday, March 26, 2011
Mets morning briefing 3.26.11

By Adam Rubin

Carlos Beltran is scheduled to play five innings in right field in a minor league game Saturday. As long as he doesn't step foot in a Grapefruit League game, the Mets can still place him on the DL if needed and he would only have to miss three regular-season games.

On to the day's news reports:

• Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) floats the idea of the government bailing out Ponzi scheme victims, and in essence supports those who profited keeping that money. Victims of Bernard Madoff lost about $20 billion, according to trustee Irving Picard, the man charged with recovering funds. Newsday reports that King, who has received roughly $9,000 in political donations from the Wilpons the past decade, said about the trustee suing Mets owners:  "I think Picard has abused his power and the media has sort of fallen for it." The newspaper reports Picard and his law firm have made roughly $131 million while recovering about $10 billion for victims (1.31 percent of the sum collected).

• Remember when Beltran went into Terry Collins' office and defused a potentially sticky situation by volunteering to move from center field to right field? Well, that was all the way back on Feb. 28. Now, Beltran is finally ready to appear in a game at the position, after dealing with left knee tendinitis in addition to his arthritic right knee. "Honestly, I'm taking this day by day," Beltran tells Newsday's David Lennon. "In my mind, since I've been out on the field, doing my rehab, I've been confident that I wanted to be in the [Opening Day] starting lineup. Based on what I did [Thursday] in the field -- running the bases and going full speed, 100 percent -- if I don't feel anything then, I'm more confident now."

Mike Sielski notes how Beltran sometimes reads the back of the baseball cards in his locker of him to remind himself what kind of player he has always been. "You have to be realistic with yourself," Beltran tells Costa regarding his knee injury. "I told my wife that I will play this game until I feel that I can't produce. If I don't feel I can produce, it doesn't matter if they pay me one, two million dollars. There's no reason for me to play. I'd embarrass myself. I don't want to embarrass myself. No one wants to embarrass himself."

• Read more about Beltran in Newsday and the Post.

Pedro Martinez's portrait is now on display in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Read the Associated Press story and see the image via the Post here.

• Post columnist Kevin Kernan discusses how Chris Young effectively hides the ball, giving the batter less reaction time and making the pitch seem quicker. "His front foot hits the ground and his arm is down behind his body, there's a fulcrum effect," catcher Mike Nickeas tells Kernan. "Chris is bright, a hard worker. He's a thinker. He's constantly thinking steps ahead, that's something that's a nice feature to have on a pitcher, a guy who can see a couple of batters ahead as opposed to a guy who is just focusing on his pitch."

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger talks about the positives of Young and Chris Capuano's springs, but also writes:

At FanGraphs.com, a sabermetrically inclined analysis website, Capuano and Young each project a 62 percent chance to land on the disabled list this year. The site’s projection system is based on a formula involving a player’s age, number of trips to the DL and starts completed in the past three seasons. Neither pitcher measures well under that standard. But Young gives Mets fans reason to believe. For now.

Steve Popper of the Record notes that Daniel Murphy finally got to turn a double play in a Grapefruit League game as the pivot man at second base Friday in Jupiter against the Marlins. Writes Popper:

It seemed like an inconsequential play in a long line of Grapefruit League games when Dewayne Wise grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. But when Daniel Murphy walked into the clubhouse he was greeted by Ike Davis and Nick Evans, who immediately quizzed him.  Was that your first double play?" Davis asked. And when Murphy confessed it was his first this spring, Davis said, "I’m a first baseman and I’ve had two."  Evans shook his head and said, "I’ve had more than you." Murphy took the jokes, pleased that he finally got the chance.

David Waldstein of the Times looks at .094 career hitter Mike Pelfrey. “I’ve kind of been in a slump the last six years,” Pelfrey tells Waldstein. Pelfrey asked to participate in Friday's minor league intrasquad game beacause he is having trouble bunting too. Collins plans to have minor league pitchers throw to the Mets pitchers the next several days, until camp breaks, to get more proficient in that area, because the manager largely has been displeased with the showings.

BIRTHDAYS: Jose Vizcaino turns 43. He played infield for the Mets from 1994 through July 29, 1996, when he was traded to the Cleveland Indians with Jeff Kent for Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza.