Carlos Beltran nearly ready to begin running

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beltran sliding.JPGESPN New York’s Adam Rubin chatted Thursday with a “source with knowledge of [Carlos] Beltran’s progress” and learned that the Mets outfielder is just about to start a running program.

Once Beltran is able to run sprints and travel the bases without discomfort, it will only be a week or two before he is cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment.  The 32-year-old underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on January 13 and is slowly making his way back to full strength.  He’s expected to rejoin the big league club sometime around mid-May.

Gary Matthews Jr. has been getting most of the looks in center field with Beltran out.  Angel Pagan is also expected to get a nice chunk of playing time.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.