By Ed Coleman
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Jose Reyes may or not be at the All-Star game next Tuesday in Arizona – but Carlos Beltran will be. Beltran topped off a remarkable first half of 2010 by being selected to the National League squad, defying virtually everyone’s expectations for him – except possibly his own. Beltran is quiet and reserved, which can be sometimes read as aloof, but there’s no question that he’s extremely proud of what he’s accomplished in the first 4 months of the season.

Beltran suffered a deep bone bruise in June of 2009 and missed the next three months. He eschewed microfracture surgery and elected to have arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose particles in his knee. Beltran didn’t return until after the All-Star break in 2010, and for the next 6 weeks he struggled. But in September last year, he batted .321 and hit 5 of his 7 HR in the last month. He spent the off-season strengthening the muscles around his surgically-repaired knee, but when it came time for the running program during spring training this year, Beltran wasn’t ready for it, so as a result, he missed virtually all spring training games. And yet here he is, the most durable Met, having played in more games (83) thus far than anyone on the roster.

And play every day he has. It was originally thought that Beltran would play 4 out of 6 or 5 out of 7 games per week. No need. It was also thought that come interleague time, Beltran could “rest” and DH during those games. He ended up as the DH in just 2 of the 9 games played in American League parks. He leads a team that doesn’t hit home runs in HR with 12. He leads the Mets in RBI with 55 – the next closest teammate is Daniel Murphy with 35. Beltran also has 24 doubles and 43 walks. both team highs.

Beltran has amazed his teammates. Does he know what kind of example he has set and the inspiration he has been for his teammates with his first half performance?

Angel Pagan is Beltran’s close friend and has always looked up to him as a role model. And yes, he’s impressed.

The steady presence throughout the first half in the Mets lineup, a lineup that has been without David Wright and Ike Davis for the most part, and now, even Jose Reyes. Carlos Beltran. Who woulda thunk?

C U later

Eddie C.

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