Carlos Beltran will not go out on a rehab assignment this week

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Jerry Manuel weeps. Yes, Carlos Beltran played in another extended spring training game on Tuesday, but Mets general manager Omar Minaya said that he will not go out on a minor league rehab assignment this week, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“I don’t see it this week,” Minaya said about Beltran entering an
official minor league game, which would start a 20-day clock to be
activated. “We are getting closer to that because he is continuing work
out, to swing the bat, to run. Like all these things, of course, it’s
how does he feel the next day? So far there hasn’t been a setback. We
hope there’s not a setback. … I mean, he’s still not all there.”

Most sane Mets fans were expecting this news, but perhaps the most interesting tidbit to emerge from Rubin’s report is that a team official says Beltran still “limps somewhat while running.” It’s still very early in his rehab, but that’s hardly a good sign.

In turn, Minaya was asked if the team had considered asking Beltran to play some right field.

“I have not brought that up to him,” Minaya said. “There’s progress. At
what point in time does he get the leg strong to the point that he’s
able to accelerate, explode — those are going to be the key things.
Right now, it’s getting better, but we’re not there yet.”

Aside from designated hitter duty, Beltran has only made five starts outside of center field during his career. He last played right field for three games during the 2000 season with the Royals.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).