Carlos Beltran hopes to play another five innings in a minor league game Sunday while the Mets send Jon Niese to the mound in Jupiter against the Cardinals.
On to Sunday's news reports:
• Steve Serby's Sunday Q&A in the Post is with David Wright. Here are a pair of exchanges:
Q: If you could pick one woman to feed you popcorn at the Super Bowl, who would it be?
A: (Laughs) I like watching the Super Bowl at home, and I don't really like popcorn.
Q: The Jeter contract negotiations?
A: I think, as always, Derek is a pro. . . . I think he's a model of what young baseball players in New York should strive for. I don't think that anybody wants their contract to be negotiated through the media, so I understand why he was upset, but I think he handled it perfectly, the way that he normally does.
• Jason Isringhausen repeats to the Post's Mike Puma that he is not interested in accepting a minor league assignment. "I came here to make the team," he tells Puma. It certainly seems like Blaine Boyer and Izzy are battling for the last spot, and the organization has appeared strongly leaning toward Boyer in recent days, in part because he has a Thursday out in his contract. Of course, Isringhausen doesn't have to formally go to a minor league team. He simply could be asked to stay in Port St. Lucie for an extra week or two while things get sorted out.
• If Beltran's knees get through another five innings in right field on Sunday, Terry Collins says he could be in Grapefruit League games Monday and Wednesday. Beltran suggests it may be Tuesday and Wednesday. Either way, once that happens, the Mets appear committed to putting him on the Opening Day roster, since they will largely lose the ability to backdate his disabled list stint. If Beltran stays in minor league games -- heck, he faced a guy with major league experience Saturday in Marlins left-hander Sean West -- then if he landed on the DL, he could miss as few as three regular-season games because of the backdating rule.
David Lennon in Newsday advocates keeping Beltran out of Grapefruit League games. Writes Lennon:
During the past couple of days, the Mets have flirted with the idea of using Beltran in Grapefruit League games as a lead-in to putting him on the Opening Day roster. But the risk is not worth that gamble. It's the difference between losing Beltran for only the first three games and losing him for two weeks if the Mets blow the chance to backdate him for the disabled list. It's the type of mistake the Mets often made under the former regime. Rather than acting decisively, the front office would waffle on DL situations, delaying the inevitable and hurting the player's recovery in the process.
• R.A. Dickey's wife Anne gave birth to the couple's fourth child, Van Allen Dickey, on Friday at 9 a.m. in Nashville. ... Jason Bay plans to sit out until Monday with back tightness, although he reported feeling better by Saturday afternoon. ... Ronny Paulino will be out for a few more days at least while doctors check bloodwork.
• David Waldstein in the Times looks at Angel Pagan's remarkable eyesight, which aids him in hitting. Writes Waldstein:
Pagan’s eyesight is remarkably good. Measured by the Mets’ physicians at 20/13, Pagan can see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 vision can see at 13 feet. That is the same vision Jason Giambi, known for his uncanny eyesight, had when he played for the Yankees. Of all the positions in the major sports, perhaps only a hockey goalie requires the eyesight that a batter needs to track a ball at such high velocity.
• Newsday notes the Mets scrapped their NCAA bracket at the last moment just to steer clear of even minor gambling in light of the investigation into former clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels' alleged gambling ties.
• At Yankees camp, Pedro Feliciano may open his pinstriped career on the disabled list. Writes Ben Shpigel in the Times:
It sounds almost hard to believe, but Pedro Feliciano swears it is the truth. The last time he visited a training room -- for anything more than an ice pack, a heat wrap or the occasional anti-inflammatory medicine -- came in 1999, which he sat out with a shoulder injury.
• Steve Popper of the Bergen Record gives you a Mets season preview primer.
BIRTHDAY: Bill Sudakis, who appeared in 18 games with the Mets in 1972 between first base and catcher, was born in 1946. He was traded to the Texas Rangers on March 28, 1973 for Bill McNulty.