Beltran now playing in extended spring games

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beltran home plate.jpgMets outfielder Carlos Beltran has been sidelined all season while rehabilitating from knee surgery and hasn’t exactly been making swift progress.  Hopefully that will all begin changing, as he played in a second straight extended spring training game on Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.

Beltran is still running at less than 75 percent effort, so he has served as the designated hitter in the two exhibition contests rather than patrol center field.  When he makes contact, he jogs slowly to first base.

Mets GM Omar Minaya is hoping that the 33-year-old outfielder will be ready to rejoin the club in a little over a month and that seems to be a realistic expectation, at least for now.  Beltran is still wearing a brace, and his surgically-repaired knee won’t truly be tested until he runs the bases, goes hard after fly balls, and does other strenuous lateral movements.

For now we play the waiting game and wonder what kind of boost the third-place Mets will get if a healthy Beltran returns after the All-Star break.  He’s a .283/.360/.496 career hitter with 273 home runs and 286 stolen bases in 12 professional seasons.

Aaron Judge’s record strikeout streak ends at 37 games

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For the first time in a month and a half, Aaron Judge went an entire game without striking out, ending his record streak at 37 games. Judge had an RBI single and three walks in Tuesday night’s 13-4 victory over the Tigers.

Judge went 1-for-4 with a solo home run and zero strikeouts in a 9-4 loss to the Brewers on July 7. Between July 8 and August 20, Judge would strike out in all 37 games, breaking the record previously held by Adam Dunn, who struck out in the first 32 games of the 2012 season. If one counted streaks extending into multiple seasons, Dunn held the record at 36 games as he struck out in his final four games in 2011 as well.

After Tuesday’s performance, Judge is now hitting .284/.417/.594 with 37 home runs, 81 RBI, and 93 runs scored in 525 plate appearances on the season. He’s had a particularly rough second half, as he entered Tuesday with a .684 OPS since the All-Star break, a far cry from his 1.139 OPS before the break.

Video: Adrian Gonzalez doubles for his 2,000th career hit

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Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was able to get a ground ball past Pirates first baseman Josh Bell for a double leading off the top of the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s game. He would come around to score later in the inning on a Corey Seager single, breaking a 1-1 tie.

The double gave Gonzalez 2,000 hits for his career. He is the 282nd player in baseball history and the 11th active player to reach 2,000 career hits. Gonzalez also has 300 home runs, making him one of 94 players with at least 300 dingers and 2,000 hits.

Gonzalez, who was recently activated from the disabled list, entered Tuesday’s action hitting .247/.295/.330 with one home run and 25 RBI in 201 plate appearances on the season.