Collins: Beltran on Opening Day realistic

Carlos Beltran

Center Field
New York Mets


Terry Collins continues to project Carlos Beltran active for the April 1 opener, even if the days are dwindling.

Beltran advanced to jogging 100 feet a handful of times Sunday. Two days after receiving a cortisone injection in his left knee, he also took batting practice from the left side.

“I kind of go back to what Bobby Cox told me one time, that [Pete] Rose only needed about 10 days to get ready,” Collins said. “So you look at Carlos Beltran and what he’s done, if his legs are fine, he’s going to get enough hitting in. We can get him at-bats. We’re going to get him out in the outfield a few games and get him comfortable out there. As I’ve said, I still think he’ll be out there Opening Day.”

Beltran told reporters in Port St. Lucie he hoped to track pitches -- meaning watch but not swing -- on Monday in a minor league game.

“We’ll check and see how it is tomorrow,” Collins said about Beltran's knee. “You always wait 24 hours to see how he comes out of it. I was glad to hear that he hit left-handed today. I think it’s a big stride. I know he just ran three-quarters or half-speed. I’m sure he’s just waiting to see how his knee feels, his other knee feels tomorrow. If it feels good, we’re going to move forward with some stuff.”

The likelihood remains Beltran ends up on the DL to open the season, even if it is backdated and he has to serve as few as five regular-season days.