Wednesday: A-Rod, Beltran, Backman and the NBA draft

World Cup soccer, the NBA Draft, Lady Gaga – it’s about time A-Rod did something to bring the attention back where it belongs. His 592nd career homer last night in Arizona leads Wally Matthews to believe he may be on the verge of a power surge. Wally’s in Phoenix for the rubber game with the Diamondbacks.

The Mets pounded the Tigers at Taxpayer Field, and Rob Parker underlines what he’s been saying all year – they’re for real. Plenty of chatter last night about Carlos Beltran’s impending return, with Andrew Marchand asking what a lot of Mets fans are thinking: This, they really need right now? Ian Begley writes that Angel Pagan is stating his case, and that Johnny Damon doesn’t miss the pressure of playing in New York. Marchand’s on the case for Game 2 in Flushing.

Kieran Darcy rode the Q out to Coney Island to catch up with Wally Backman, skipper of the Brooklyn Cyclones – and possibly the Mets manager in training. Adam Rubin adds a mini-profile of ‘Clones OF Cory Vaughn, the 21-year-old son of ex-major leaguer Greg Vaughn. Cory’s a good story – starred for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, and plays with an insulin pump attached to his belt.

We’ll also have NBA Draft previews on the Nets and Knicks from Chris Sheridan, and Begley is doing a World Cup scene piece during US-Algeria.

Today’s chats: Rich Cimini, noon, and Ohm Youngmisuk, 1 p.m.