Jerry Manuel might be jumping the gun on Carlos Beltran's return

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Carlos Beltran Mets.jpgCraig already told us that Carlos Beltran played the outfield and homered in an extended spring training game this afternoon. Well, Mets manager Jerry Manuel was so encouraged by the news that he suggested that Beltran could return as a designated hitter during interleague play. (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com)

“I think if this trip would have maybe come a week later, I think we
could have possibly DH’d him,” Manuel said. “I could have taken care of
him, you know? I’m still trying to do that. I’m still trying to get him.
I don’t know. I’m anxious to talk to [assistant GM] John Ricco. I’m
anxious to talk to the people down there because I wanted to see how he
felt first going in and out of the field.”

Nice thought, but Mets assistant general manager John Ricco quickly put the kibosh on that one. While saying that the organization doesn’t “frown on optimism,” Ricco called Manuel’s suggestion “pretty aggressive.”

“There’s been really no change in his status,” the assistant GM said of
Beltran. “He’s continued to play in simulated games down at our complex
with various minor leaguers who are there getting ready for their short
seasons that will start up here shortly, and he’s continuing to
progress. But he’s still not ready to go out yet on a formal rehab
assignment.”

From all indications, Beltran is expected to return sometime in July.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.