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.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.