He's alive! Carlos Beltran finally returns from knee surgery

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Mets fans probably started to wonder if this day would ever come, but Carlos Beltran has finally been activated from the disabled list. For real.
He missed the entire first half following January knee surgery that was initially expected to sideline him for just 8-12 weeks, but Jerry Manuel has thrown him right back into the fire as the Mets’ center fielder and cleanup hitter tonight against Tim Lincecum.
Angel Pagan slides over to right field after starting 72 of 88 games in center, with Jeff Francoeur taking his measly .695 OPS to the bench after starting all but seven first-half games. Presumably he’ll still replace the switch-hitting Pagan in right field against left-handed pitchers, and the Mets face Barry Zito tomorrow and Jonathan Sanchez on Sunday.
Obviously it’s tough to know what to expect from Beltran at this point, but he played 14 games while rehabbing in the minors at Single-A and hit .367 with five doubles. Based on that his bat sure seems ready, but his speed, defense, and durability are seemingly much bigger question marks.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.