Carlos Beltran's season is now over after yesterday's MRI revealed that the centerfielder has "mild inflammation" of his right knee, the same one that was surgically repaired in January. On the advice of the Mets' medical staff, Beltran will not play the remaining four games, but his offseason regimen should not be affected.
"First of all I'm happy that actually the MRI shows the knee's better," Beltran said between games of yesterday's doubleheader against the Brewers. "The doctor said it's a little bit inflamed. But he said the bone bruise and everything looks better than the past MRIs. I'm happy for that part. The only part that I'm not happy about is I want to finish the season playing."
Beltran was forced to leave Tuesday's game after five innings because he felt pain in the right knee and he still had discomfort walking around Wednesday. What puzzled Beltran was the reason for the sudden pain. While he had suffered from tendinitis in the left knee earlier this season - the result of compensating for his weaker right one - these new symptoms worried him.
Beltran, 33, has been wearing a shock-absorbing brace on the right knee since he returned to the Mets on July 15 and the brace had worked until Tuesday, when Beltran felt a "pinch" in that spot as he took a lead off first base in the fourth inning.
The plan was for Beltran to have an MRI at the end of the season anyway, to take a periodic look at the bone bruise inside the right knee, and yesterday's exam at the Hospital for Special Surgery moved up that schedule by a few days. But the MRI results also were sent to Beltran's orthopedist in Vail, Colo. - knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman - for a second opinion.
Both Beltran and his agent, Scott Boras, have not seen eye-to-eye with the Mets, and specifically the team's COO Jeff Wilpon, on the best course of treatment for his chronic knee issues. That created an ugly public feud last January, when the Mets threatened to void Beltran's contract over the disputed surgery, and the latent tension between the two sides could lead to Beltran being traded.
Beltran has one year worth $18.5 million left on his six-year, $119-million contract, and that salary, coupled with his questionable health, will make him very difficult to move. Aside from this week's setback, Beltran had showed signs of his former self recently, batting .329 (25-for-76) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in September. He smacked two homers with three RBIs against the Phillies on Sunday.
Notes & quotes: As the Mets wait for the hearing on their grievance against Francisco Rodriguez, the lawyers for both Major League Baseball and the Players Association will meet to discuss the case today in New York, a person familiar with the situation confirmed. The Brewers swept the Mets in yesterday's doubleheader. In Game 2, R.A. Dickey allowed six hits and one run in seven innings in the Mets' 3-1 loss. Dickey finished the season with a 2.86 ERA in 26 starts . . . In the first game, David Wright and Lucas Duda each homered, but the Mets lost to the Brewers, 8-7. Jon Niese allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 22/3 innings to fall short in his attempt at 10 wins this season.