NEW YORK -- With Carlos Beltran playing in his first rehab game in Port St. Lucie on Thursday, Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Beltran returning to play by Monday in Puerto Rico can't be ruled out.
"He might end up there," Manuel said. "You never know."
However, an executive with knowledge of the Mets' thinking said later the team knows Monday would be "too quck" and is "not going to happen."
If Beltran's rehab goes well through the weekend, Manuel thinks Beltran will push to return in his home country of Puerto Rico, where the Mets play the Marlins beginning Monday.
"If he plays well, he will be making calls up here," Manuel said.
Manuel went onto say that Beltran would have to do "extremely well" to make Puerto Rico realistic.
What hurts Beltran's chances is that the field in Puerto Rico is Astroturf, which wouldn't be ideal for Beltran -- coming off knee surgery -- to play his first major league game of the season.
"It would be a tough sell," Manuel said.
But he refused to say an impossible one. The executive, though, made it sound imposssible.