NEW YORK -- In what potentially could be another problem heading into next season, discomfort in Carlos Beltran's right knee forced the Mets center fielder to leave Tuesday's game. Beltran is scheduled to have an MRI on the knee Wednesday.
The right knee is the one that disabled Beltran last year and for the first half of this season. However, Beltran sounded optimistic about the injury.
"Honestly, in my heart, I don't feel I have to worry," Beltran said after the Mets' 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Beltran said he came to park on Tuesday feeling tightness in the knee. When he reached first on an error in the fourth, he felt the pain in the knee and informed trainer Ray Ramirez. He played defense in the fifth, but was taken out before the top of the sixth.
"I have to be smart about it," Beltran said.
Beltran has felt tenderness in his left knee since he came back in July, but not in the right one. Manager Jerry Manuel noticed that Beltran's gait looked different in the outfield on Tuesday.
The injury occurred just when Beltran was starting to play well. After struggling initially, Beltran has been very hot lately. On Sunday, he went 3-for-5 with two homers and three RBIs in the Mets' victory in Philadelphia.
Entering Tuesday night, Beltran had looked like his old self this month. He hit .329 (25-76) with five homers and 13 RBIs in 20 games.
The injury could be very important because the Mets may try to trade Beltran this offseason. His hot September could entice teams, despite the $18 million Beltran is owed next year. Either way, the Mets would likely have to pay some of Beltran's salary to unload him.
Since Beltran returned in the middle of July, this is the first setback he has experienced.
"We expected him to have flare-ups and this is the first one that he's had," Manuel said.
Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com.