UPDATE: Carlos Beltran is done for the day. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts over five innings. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, he had two chances in right field and “never had to run full throttle.”
The results really don’t matter, but we’ll just have to hear how the knee feels.
For what it’s worth, Beltran told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York following the game that the plan is for him to play five innings in a minor league game Sunday, then take Monday off and play seven innings in a Grapefruit League game Tuesday.
8:47 AM: Part of his last-ditch effort to get ready for Opening Day, Carlos Beltran is set to play five innings in a minor league game this afternoon.
The big news here is that Beltran will play right field for the first time in a competitive game this spring. He’s had little time to adjust to his new position due to a recent bout of tendinitis in his left knee.
Beltran played in a simulated game Thursday and in a minor league intersquad game yesterday, but Mets manager Terry Collins told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger that they still need to be cautious.
“Even though he’s feeling great,” Collins said, “it’s a big step forward for us to get him out there, to get him playing. We’re going to watch it.”
Barring any setbacks, the hope is that Beltran can play the final three games of the Grapefruit League schedule, beginning Monday. While it’s an aggressive timetable, it’s pretty much the only way he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Many still expect him to begin the season on the disabled list.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.