LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Carlos Beltran said Saturday morning that he is prepared to DH as planned in Sunday's game against the Red Sox at Digital Domain Park. In fact, he's eager to do so after two weeks of being limited to batting practice and a running program designed to strengthen his right leg.
"I'm ready," Beltran said, "but I'm not sure how many at-bats I'll get. It depends on what happens."
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Manager Terry Collins won't be taking any chances, so as soon as Beltran thinks he's seen enough pitches, his day will be over.
"I'm not looking for him to steal," Collins said.
Even if Beltran has no issues Sunday, he still intends to be cautious this week, with an eye toward playing rightfield perhaps next Sunday. That would leave him more than two weeks to get up to speed for Opening Day, and he does not foresee that being a problem.
In the Nick of time?
Nick Evans seems to be the odd man out when it comes to the Mets' roster for Opening Day, but he's not going down without a fight. Evans went 1-for-4 with a run scored Saturday in the Mets' 6-4 loss to the Braves and is batting .389 (7-for-18) with two doubles.
Still, with Scott Hairston and Willie Harris pegged for the spare outfield spots, Evans has an uphill battle. He also has no options left, meaning Evans - if he is not among the final 25 - will have to clear waivers for the Mets to hold on to him.
"He brings a lot to the party," Collins said. "He's hit the ball as hard as anyone in camp. As this all takes shape, Nick will have a legitimate shot to make the club."
Matt Harvey, the Mets' top pick in last year's draft, pitched a perfect inning, striking out two, as the Mets' prospects defeated Team Italy, 8-1, Saturday at the minor-league complex . . . Mike Pelfrey was satisfied with his three innings despite allowing four hits and two runs to Atlanta. Justin Turner had a pair of hits in the loss. Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer off Dillon Gee . . . Boston's Jon Lester (flu) was scratched from Sunday's start in Port St. Lucie. Michael Bowden will take his place. Jon Niese starts for the Mets.