Carlos Beltran is finally making some progress

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Last week general manager Omar Minaya revealed that Carlos Beltran is unlikely to return before the All-Star break, saying he had yet to resume baseball activities and would need 6-8 more weeks of rehab time once that happens.
Yesterday the injured center fielder said he’s currently running at about 80 percent and expects to begin playing extended spring training games next week, which indicates he’s now 6-8 weeks from rejoining the Mets if Minaya’s timetable is accurate.
When he does return Beltran may see some time in right field, with manager Jerry Manuel saying yesterday “that’s not out of the question” and “it would be something we have to entertain with him, how comfortable he is in a different spot.” By playing Beltran in right field the Mets would potentially save some wear and tear on his surgically repaired knee while also leaving Angel Pagan in center field where he’s played well.
Current right fielder Jeff Francoeuer would be the odd man out in that scenario, but he has little room to complain with a .251 batting average, .314 on-base percentage, and .393 slugging percentage in 53 games. Of course, given Beltran’s many setbacks and the Mets’ recent history with such things there’s obviously no need to cross that bridge any time soon.

Dallas Keuchel to return to Astros’ rotation on Friday

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.

Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.

Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.

Video: Ketel Marte hits an inside-the-park home run

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Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.

The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.