Carlos Beltran went 0-for-5 and played right field for five innings in a minor league game against the Florida Marlins' Triple-A affiliate.
It marked Beltran's first formal game since serving as designated hitter against the Boston Red Sox on March 6, after which he was shut down with left knee tendinitis that required a cortisone shot. It also marked his first time in a formal game in right field.
Beltran pronounced his knees OK afterward and said he would again play five innings in a minor league game Sunday. He hoped to advance to a Grapefruit League game Tuesday, playing seven innings in Viera against the Washington Nationals. The front office will need to sign off on that, though, since once Beltran appears in a major league spring training game the Mets lose the ability to backdate any ensuing 15-day DL stint a full 10 days into spring training.
"I didn't feel anything, so I feel good about it," Beltran said. "Honestly, right now, I'm not worried about hitting. The last thing I've got in mind is hitting. I'm more worried about where I am on my legs. Hitting will come."
Beltran struck out in each of his first three at-bats, then grounded out to third base, all batting right-handed against southpaw Sean West. In his final at-bat, Beltran batted left-handed against right-hander Steven Cishek and was retired on a cue shot to second base.
Beltran received only two chances in right field -- one shot that cleared his head for a triple, and another he cut off in the right-center gap for a double. He said he went full speed, although it was hardly the fluid movements that prompted Mike Piazza to describe Beltran as a "gazelle" during the outfielder's first spring training with the Mets.
"A little bit different," Beltran labeled right field, where he has played only five major league games. "Less active than center field, for sure. Everything they hit, almost, was to left field, left center, so I didn't get a chance to move really."
As for the 0-for-5, Beltran said he was unconcerned because he took plenty of swings during the offseason back in Puerto Rico. He contrasted that with the previous offseason, when he needed to undergo Jan. 13, 2010 right knee surgery and did not take many cuts all winter.
"I'm not worried, because I've been able to hit a lot here in spring training," he said. "Last year was a different story, because last year I could not hit in the offseason. I didn't put in any work in the offseason. ... Timing-wise, that's something that's going to take time. I can deal with that part."