Commentary

Sandy sighs as Beltran takes a knee

Carlos' continuing injury issues, Ollie's problems among Alderson's headaches

Updated: March 9, 2011, 7:57 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Tuesday in New York Met-land included outfielder Carlos Beltran's knee woes forcing him to be shut down for the week, Oliver Perez getting lit up in the first inning against the Houston Astros and a media conference call by the trustee suing Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz for $1 billion.

Welcome to the organization, Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins.

Carlos Beltran
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireCarlos Beltran won't start the season on the DL if Sandy Alderson gets his wish.

All throughout the winter, the Mets had portrayed Beltran's knee as fine. Perhaps that was what they had to do. Perhaps that's what they fooled themselves into believing.

But whether it's investments or chronic knee trouble, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Beltran was forced to halt his 2010 season with a week to go because of pain in his troublesome right knee. And while the discomfort undoubtedly calmed down during the offseason, the likelihood is it will be an issue throughout the season, with more and more pounding on the joint. Moving from center field to right field is not enough of a reduction in wear and tear to prevent that from inevitably occurring.

With Tuesday's news that Beltran will take anti-inflammatory medication and be shut down from games for the remainder of the week because of tendinitis in his less-troublesome knee, Alderson said he was not resigned to Beltran opening the season on the disabled list.

Still, Alderson added that the likely avenue to cover a short-term loss of Beltran would be to plug backup outfielders Scott Hairston and Willie Harris in right field rather than use a prospect currently ticketed for Triple-A such as Fernando Martinez or Lucas Duda or pursue a trade. (That's a positive development for Nick Evans. He might have been the last position player cut, at least assuming Daniel Murphy is not the primary second baseman, but Evans could sneak onto the roster if Beltran opens the season on the DL.)

Meanwhile, Beltran's injury issues in Year 7 of a seven-year deal are further evidence of the ill-advised contract the Washington Nationals gave outfielder Jayson Werth (seven years, $126 million) and also provides more evidence of why free-agent-to-be Jose Reyes may be a goner after this season.

Would Alderson really give Reyes, who is dependent upon his legs, a seven-year contract next offseason if another team is willing? Not likely. The limited contribution the Mets may get out of Beltran this season further cements that likelihood.

Not that Alderson wanted to touch that issue Tuesday given all the other headaches going on.

"Look, I'm not here to comment on his seven-year contract, someone else's seven-year contract," Alderson said, initially referring to Beltran and Werth. "These things happen. Whether they happen at the back end or the front end or somewhere in the middle, they can happen."

Alderson continued with a laugh: "I'm not really here to comment on Jose's situation. As far as I know, his knees are fine."

As for taking a trip to Kissimmee when he could have stayed in Port St. Lucie for the home split-squad game against the Nationals, Alderson acknowledged it was out of a sense of duty to watch Perez.

"Isn't that why we're all here?" the GM asked.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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