Mets 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.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.