Beltran getting close but Pagan is closer

NEW YORK -- Angel Pagan was out of the New York Mets' lineup for the fourth consecutive game on Sunday. Jesus Feliciano took his place, picking up three hits while playing center field and batting second.

Pagan left the Mets' game vs. the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday early, after suffering muscle spasms in his right side. He hasn't played since.

After the Mets' 6-0 win over the Minnesota Twins, Pagan said he probably won't be ready to start against the Florida Marlins on Monday in Puerto Rico, but thinks he'll be ready Tuesday.

"It's disappointing because I'm helping the team [when I'm in the lineup]," Pagan said. "I'm working hard right now. I'm doing everything that I can."

Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran went 3-for-4 in a Class A game in Florida on Saturday. Beltran had a double, two RBIs and a run scored. He also played seven full innings in center field on his surgically repaired right knee. This followed a 2-for-3 game on Friday.

However, manager Jerry Manuel said before Sunday's Mets game that he doesn't expect Beltran to join the club in his native Puerto Rico for the three-game series with the Marlins.

"No, I don't think so," Manuel said. "I think that he needs those [rehab] games. I wish it woulda been five or six days later, in Puerto Rico -- go home, get a chance to play in front of his family and friends. I would say that would have been a possibility."

Last week, Manuel had hinted that Beltran might join the team in Puerto Rico.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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