Carlos Beltran took another major step toward his return last night as he played back-to-back nine-inning games in center field for the first time since he began his rehab assignment.
Beltran, who is scheduled to return on July 15 against the San Francisco Giants, went 2-for-4 with a single, a double, a walk and a run scored. He also made four putouts in center field.
“The knee is getting stronger and stronger,” Beltran said. “Every day, I feel better.”
The return of the Mets gold glove centerfielder will pose a playing time problem for Angel Pagan who is batting .300 with five home runs, 39 RBI and 44 runs scored in 280 at-bats.
He could end up in some sort of platoon with right fielder Jeff Francoeur who is batting .259 with 8 home runs and 42 RBI. Frenchy (.348/.403/.853) is one of the Mets best weapons the Mets have against lefthanded pitching, but has struggled mightily against RHP, so a platoon could make the Mets more formidable at the plate.
Pagan has a .719 OPS against LHP, but against RHP his OPS (on-base plus slugging pct.) is over 100 points higher at .840.
Considering both of those facts, a Francoeur/Pagan platoon at RF coupled with the return of a healthy Carlos Beltran in CF, adds up to a significant upgrade to the lineup and one that could catapult the Mets to the top of the NL East for good.