Monday, March 28, 2011
Beltran on Opening Day roster
By Adam Rubin
Carlos Beltran will be used in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game, with the full intention of placing him on the Opening Day roster "unless something happens tomorrow," Terry Collins said.
"The same plan," Beltran said.
The Mets will lose the ability to backdate Beltran's DL stint once he appears in a Grapefruit League game. That means, if he has a setback Tuesday, his 15-day DL stint would only be backdated one day into spring training, rather than 10 days. (The season officially starts Thursday, even though the Mets don't play until the following day.)
"Carlos said he's feeling good and he's ready to go," Sandy Alderson said. "At some point you've got to move forward. I do think it's valuable for him to play in major league [spring-training] games. That would be an advantage over the last couple of days. It does present a risk. Look, at some point you've got to roll the dice. Given his firmness about how he feels and the fact that he's ready to go, I think we've decided that this is probably the best thing for us."
Collins intimated Beltran may be de-emphasized in the lineup early in the season and not bat cleanup. Ike Davis was due to be the cleanup hitter in Monday's rained-out lineup, with Jason Bay batting fifth, Daniel Murphy plugging the right field hole in Beltran's potential No. 6 spot, then Brad Emaus and Josh Thole rounding out the lineup.
Beltran's lone Grapefruit League game came as a DH against the Boston Red Sox on March 6. He played five innings apiece in right field in Triple-A games on Saturday and Sunday.
"That's something I'll address later," Collins said about batting Beltran down in the order Friday in Miami and until he demonstrates sharpness. "I just want to get him in the lineup right now. It will be a work-in-progress, probably, a little bit. I think the more comfortable he gets in right field, obviously the better he'll play. I think the more at-bats he gets, the more confidence he has. He says he feels great at the plate, he's seeing the ball good."
Collins also may use a late-game replacement for Beltran, and strategically rest him.
"Carlos understands that we're going to try to protect him a little bit early," Collins said. "The weather, once we get out of Florida, may not be perfect. We'll make sure that he is protected a little bit."
Beltran breaking camp with the Mets may mean the end of Nick Evans as a Met. With a projected bench of Mike Nickeas (for Ronny Paulino), Chin-lung Hu, Daniel Murphy, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, Evans ultimately should be placed on waivers, where he can be claimed by any team. If Evans clears waivers, he can be assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.