Carlos Beltran stormed out of the gates quickly this year, leading the National League in hitting for a good portion of the first few months of the season. Then he started feeling some pain in his right knee but continued to play through it. Finally, on June 22, the pain became too much for him to play at the level he’s capable of playing. Beltran was placed on the disabled list in the hopes that his return would be sometime around the All-Star Break.
The return date might have been a little off, but Carlos Beltran has returned to professional baseball for the first time since June 22. He was in the starting lineup as the designated hitter tonight for the Brooklyn Cyclones against the Hudson Valley Renegades.
Beltran picked up right where he left off the last time he played a game in New York. He laced an RBI single and later tested his knee by sliding into second in an attempt to break up a double play.
According to Brian Lewis in the New York Post, an MRI performed on Beltran’s ailing knee showed improvement. However, it also revealed that the bruise was not completely gone. Despite this, Beltran still wanted to get back into the swing of things in an attempt to get back onto the playing field in Flushing. He could have hung up his spikes for the rest of the season and let the winter heal his bruise naturally, but Carlos did not feel right about that. In fact, he had this to say.
“A lot of people are telling me, why don’t you sit back for the rest of the season. I don’t want to sit back. I’m a ballplayer. Your job is being able to rehab yourself; and if that’s the last game of the season, then play the last game of the season. That’s what we get paid for. If I got home without playing this season, my mind is going to kill me thinking. You don’t want that in your head. You want your head to be clear.”
It’s great to see that Beltran wants to earn his salary on the playing field instead of the trainer’s table. He’s no longer in his 20s, so he should see if this injury has eroded his above-average athletic skills. He’s smart enough to know that with the Mets out of contention in the National League East and Wild Card races, any pain or discomfort that he feels after returning to the team should take him out of the lineup immediately.
When he first suffered the injury in June, the Mets were still within striking distance of the Phillies. He wanted to play through the pain to help them compete. Now that competing for the division title is no longer an issue, he won’t have to keep any discomfort to himself. If he feels pain, he’ll come out. If he doesn’t, he’ll stay in. And if he remains healthy for the final month of the season, he can go into the offseason with his head clear, knowing that he was able to play again.