Beltran to hit cleanup in return to Mets

NEW YORK -- New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he intends to bat Carlos Beltran in the cleanup spot when the center fielder returns to the lineup Thursday in San Francisco.

Manuel originally floated the idea of Beltran batting third, but the skipper doesn't want to disrupt All-Star David Wright, who is performing well in that slot.

Beltran's return will allow Manuel to slide struggling Ike Davis and Jason Bay down a slot apiece in the order. Davis is hitting .196 over his past 15 games. The rookie first baseman is hitting .254 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs overall this season after Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Braves. Bay has suffered a power outage, with only six home runs in 85 games, after hitting 36 homers for the Red Sox last season.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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