Beltran will be off and running soon

Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who mentioned late in spring training that this Saturday was his target date to begin running, apparently will be very close with that estimate. While the precise day has not yet been determined, according to a team insider, Beltran's first running activity since Jan. 13 arthroscopic surgery to clean out his arthritic right knee should occur any day. Beltran currently is doing work in the weight room and water.

"He's a professional," a source with knowledge of Beltran's progress said. "His body will dictate what to do. He’s progressing great."

Beltran is expected to return to the Mets in mid-May, although the outfielder said a week ago that he did not want to commit to that timetable until after running.

“Right now I don’t want to talk about when I’m going to come back if I haven’t run yet,” Beltran said last Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “When I run, then that can give me an idea of where I am. Right now it’s hard for me to say.”

Gary Matthews Jr. has started the Mets' first two games in center field in Beltran's absence.