Minaya says he didn't OK Beltran's surgery

Omar Minaya

Omar Minaya (Credit: Newsday file photo)

Mets general manager Omar Minaya said Friday that he did not give the OK for Carlos Beltran to have knee surgery before the team's star centerfielder had an operation Wednesday.

"Carlos did speak to me before surgery and we had a good conversation," Minaya told Newsday in a telephone interview. "It was one of those things as far as he was telling me what the second opinion was and all that.

"I basically told him, 'Look, as long as the protocol is followed.' I didn't give an OK because . . . we had a good conversation about it that seemed like he was excited about it."

Minaya's stance - that Beltran went ahead with the surgery without the Mets' final approval - contradicts what Beltran said in a statement issued through his agent, Scott Boras, on Thursday.

"I also spoke to Omar Minaya about the surgery on Tuesday,'' Beltran said in the statement. "He did not ask me to wait or to get another doctor's opinion. He just wished me well. No one from the team raised any issue until Wednesday, after I was already in surgery. I do not know what else I could have done.''

Minaya, in his first public comments on the matter, said he spoke with Beltran on Friday in an attempt to clarify matters. The two are close friends.

"I just told him that ownership and myself and the doctors . . . there was a breakdown in the process; those were the issues," Minaya said. "There was a miscommunication along the way. A general manager doesn't approve it - that's between the doctors and the other people.

"Carlos and I have a very good relationship. I told Carlos from ownership, there's no issues with Carlos. The issues that were played out were more on the process. We had a very good conversation. There are no issues between Carlos and myself or the organization."

Despite Minaya's contention, there does seem to be an issue. By going on the record as saying they did not approve the surgery, involving the commissioner's office and sending Boras a letter detailing their issues, the Mets could be setting up a legal battle in which they seek to recoup some of Beltran's salary if his recovery from the surgery goes awry.

Boras could not be reached for comment Friday. Beltran is expected to miss at least the first month of the season.

The protocol Minaya referred to, apparently, was giving the Mets the chance to sign off on the surgery through their medical director, Dr. David Altchek. The surgery was performed in Colorado by noted orthopedist Richard Steadman.

"I knew that surgery was planned," Minaya said. "[Beltran] told me that surgery had been planned. My words for him was, 'As long as the protocol was being followed.' "

Minaya said he was flying from New York to Arizona for the owners' meetings Wednesday when Beltran had the surgery. He said he flew back to New York on Thursday, so the team chose to have assistant general manager John Ricco headline a conference call in which the team's position was explained.

"I was traveling," Minaya said. "The other thing is I have a lot of confidence and trust in John Ricco. He is my righthand man. I have all the confidence in the world in him. John Ricco's doing an excellent job for me."

Notes & quotes: John Maine avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $3.3-million contract with the Mets, a raise of $700,000. The deal includes the chance to make an additional $225,000 in performance bonuses based on starts.

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