Carlos Beltran told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York earlier this afternoon that while he has been cleared for some baseball activities, he will be limited to hitting and other non-running activities for the time being.
Beltran reports that his knee currently feels “60 percent better” than it did one week ago and according to Jon Heyman of SI.com, he hopes to play in a game within a week.
Such a timetable obviously gives Beltran little time to get reps in right field, so the odds of him being ready for the season are getting pretty long at this point. Beltran essentially admitted as much to Rubin this afternoon, saying that Opening Day isn’t the finish line.
“I would love to be there for Opening Day, and I’m shooting for that for sure. But, at the same time, we’re being careful with this. I’m being careful. And I want to make sure that when I’m in there, I’m in there.”
If Beltran starts the season on the disabled list, the Mets will likely go with some combination of Scott Hairston, Willie Harris and Lucas Duda in right field.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.