He had a built-in excuse. After playing in 14 straight games on suspect knees, Beltran was due for a breather. The last time he rested was April 14, when he sat out the first game of a doubleheader against the Rockies, but Beltran told manager Terry Collins Saturday morning that he could play that afternoon.
Despite entering Saturday's game with a .316 average against Halladay (12-for-38), Beltran laughed at the idea that he was eager to face him. But he followed up that success with two more hits, including an RBI single for the Mets' only run in their 2-1 loss.
"I don't think you can say I like facing Roy Halladay," Beltran said, smiling.
Beltran, a regular in the No. 4 spot, is batting .281 (25-for-89) with a .360 on-base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage.
"I feel good," said Beltran, who has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games for a .318 average during that span. "I told Terry that if I feel good, why should I take a break? As long as I continue to feel like this, I will be out there."
The one thing that Collins won't do is move him back to centerfield despite the prolonged absence of Angel Pagan, who is on the DL with an oblique strain and has yet to begin baseball activities in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Collins believes that it wouldn't be fair to flip-flop Beltran, only to switch him back to rightfield when Pagan returns.
When told of Collins' viewpoint, Beltran said, "Then that's the way it is."
The Mets have made no immediate plans to pull Dillon Gee from the bullpen although Collins has said relief duty limits him as a pitcher. The manager plans to discuss it with GM Sandy Alderson . . . Ike Davis went 0-for-4, including a groundout to end the game, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.