Carlos Beltran took batting practice with a brace on his right knee in the cage before last night's rainout at Citi Field and pronounced himself two or 2 1/2 weeks away from playing for the Mets.


"That's what I'm thinking right now based on the progress I've been doing," the Mets' centerfielder said. "I might tell you two weeks right now. If you ask me tomorrow, I don't know about two weeks if I have the pain or whatever."

Beltran said he feels as good now as he has since he went on the disabled list on June 22 with a bone bruise behind his knee. He said a recent MRI showed the bruise was still there, but he is hoping to be able to manage the pain enough to help the Mets for the final month and a half.

"Right now I feel better than what I feel a month ago," he said. "There's not any difference between the bone bruise a month ago and now, but I feel like I can move better and do a lot more things. Hopefully it can improve the next time I take an MRI."


Beltran said the next step is literally down. He will test the knee on a "step down" machine, and if he is pain-free, then he will be given permission to run. His most recent step down test on Tuesday was not pain free.

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"I felt pain," he said. "It's kind of one of those things where you have to try it every day, and hopefully one day I don't feel anything and that will tell me, 'OK now I can go out and run, maybe a few sprints and test it out.' "

This is some good news for the Mets' beleaguered front office: Beltran said he didn't think the injury was mishandled or misdiagnosed by the team's medical staff. He took responsibility for initially playing through the pain after receiving a cortisone shot.

"Honestly, I make all the decisions," he said. "I just wanted to do what's best for the team. And best for the team, I believe, was me being able to play through it until the point where I couldn't go no more. And that's what happened. I feel good, honestly, because I did the best I could. Now I'm getting back. I feel better. Hopefully pretty soon I can be back with the team."