Beltran now playing in extended spring games

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beltran home plate.jpgMets outfielder Carlos Beltran has been sidelined all season while rehabilitating from knee surgery and hasn’t exactly been making swift progress.  Hopefully that will all begin changing, as he played in a second straight extended spring training game on Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.

Beltran is still running at less than 75 percent effort, so he has served as the designated hitter in the two exhibition contests rather than patrol center field.  When he makes contact, he jogs slowly to first base.

Mets GM Omar Minaya is hoping that the 33-year-old outfielder will be ready to rejoin the club in a little over a month and that seems to be a realistic expectation, at least for now.  Beltran is still wearing a brace, and his surgically-repaired knee won’t truly be tested until he runs the bases, goes hard after fly balls, and does other strenuous lateral movements.

For now we play the waiting game and wonder what kind of boost the third-place Mets will get if a healthy Beltran returns after the All-Star break.  He’s a .283/.360/.496 career hitter with 273 home runs and 286 stolen bases in 12 professional seasons.

Noah Syndergaard to disabled list due to hand, foot, and mouth disease

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MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports that Mets starter Noah Syndergaard will be placed on the 10-day disabled list because he contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease. The ailment is more common in children than adults and is caused by Coxsackievirus A16 or Enterovirus 71. According to James Wagner of the New York Times, it is believed that Syndergaard picked up hand, foot, and mouth disease working at a youth camp during the All-Star break.

Syndergaard, 25, started on Friday. He pitched well but lasted only five innings, throwing 84 pitches, because he had diminished velocity and felt tired. He yielded a run on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was his second start since returning from a DL stint (strained ligament in right index finger) that kept him out between May 26 and July 12.

The Mets expect Syndergaard to need only the minimum 10 days to recover. Corey Oswalt will temporarily take Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation.

In 13 starts this season, Syndergaard owns a 2.89 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 15 walks in 74 2/3 innings.