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.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.