He's alive! Carlos Beltran finally returns from knee surgery

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Mets fans probably started to wonder if this day would ever come, but Carlos Beltran has finally been activated from the disabled list. For real.
He missed the entire first half following January knee surgery that was initially expected to sideline him for just 8-12 weeks, but Jerry Manuel has thrown him right back into the fire as the Mets’ center fielder and cleanup hitter tonight against Tim Lincecum.
Angel Pagan slides over to right field after starting 72 of 88 games in center, with Jeff Francoeur taking his measly .695 OPS to the bench after starting all but seven first-half games. Presumably he’ll still replace the switch-hitting Pagan in right field against left-handed pitchers, and the Mets face Barry Zito tomorrow and Jonathan Sanchez on Sunday.
Obviously it’s tough to know what to expect from Beltran at this point, but he played 14 games while rehabbing in the minors at Single-A and hit .367 with five doubles. Based on that his bat sure seems ready, but his speed, defense, and durability are seemingly much bigger question marks.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.