Carlos Beltran could return to the Mets on Monday

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Reports on Carlos Beltran’s return from the disabled list have been hard to keep track of.

First, manager Jerry Manuel said the outfielder might return for the Mets’ series against the Marlins in Puerto Rico.  That, of course, is now over.  Then it was rumored that he would be out until after the All-Star break.  We may be able to call that false now as well.

According to David Lennon of New York’s Newsday, Beltran will play consecutive nine-inning games this weekend at Single-A Port St. Lucie and could return on Monday if he reports no abnormalities in his surgically-repaired knee.  He’s been hitting the ball well down in Florida and should be his old productive self at the plate once he makes his way back into the Mets’ starting lineup.

The 33-year-old hit .325 with a .915 OPS and 10 home runs last season in only 81 games with the Mets.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.