Carlos Beltran will play for Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic despite bruised toe

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Carlos Beltran suffered a bruised right toe Thursday when he was hit by a pitch in a Grapefruit League game and wondered aloud to reporters whether it might affect his ability to play for his native Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. It won’t.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Beltran is leaving Cardinals camp today to join up with his Puerto Rico teammates. He may be sidelined for the next few days, but the 35-year-old expects to be in the starting lineup when Puerto Rico opens pool play against Spain on Friday night.

Beltran hit .269/.346/.495 with 32 home runs and 97 RBI in 151 games last season for St. Louis. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 campaign.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.