Each day at Mets camp seems like a mini-drama waiting to unfold. First it was Luis. Then it was Ollie. Now it’s dealing with Carlos Beltran and the 8-day plan to deliver him to Opening Night.

And when it was revealed on Thursday that Beltran would not play in a minor league game but would do “other things”, it admittedly didn’t sound good. But when Beltran was finished going through the paces of his “simulated” game, things appeared much brighter.

He looked good. Actually very good. After some early batting practice, he hit some more. He ran the bases well. He looked sharp in RF, running a long way to catch a ball slicing away from him into foul territory, and even threw a perfect one-hop throw to the plate. Beltran was asked how it went for him.

Manager Terry Collins, who pitched to Beltran during the game, very much liked what he watched.

And for Beltran – have some questions been answered.

Beltran is scheduled to play in a minor league game on Saturday, then the tentative plan would call for games Monday and Wednesday as well with likely days off (from games) in-between. It’s possible he could play in a game Tuesday too. GM Sandy Alderson said whether they’re minor or major league games is still subject to debate.

Alderson also cautioned that despite the good results on Thursday, it still is very much a day-to-day process.

But it’s also obvious that Beltran very much wants to be in the starting lineup on Friday night April 1 – and Alderson is more than happy to oblige if possible.

Thursday the Mets blasted 23 hits and clobbered the Cardinals 16-3. Brad Emaus – who virtually has the 2B job nailed down – went 4-4 with his first spring HR plus a double. Collins said Emaus certainly helped his cause.

David Wright also went 4-4 with a HR and double. Angel Pagan and Josh Thole each hit their 3rd spring home runs, and young outfielder Matt Den Dekker, who the Mets love, unloaded a 3-run bomb.

The out-of-options Nick Evans continues to state a strong case for himself – 3 more hits, including his sixth double, and he’s now batting .339. Pagan had three hits as well, and Jose Reyes added two, raising his average (.255) over 100 points just the last couple of days.

Chris Capuano went 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and just 2 earned runs while walking none and striking out four. He was not as sharp as he was his last time out (5 2/3 scoreless last Saturday), and for that reason is glad he has another start before breaking camp.

In what seems to be almost a daily ritual, four Met relievers followed Capuano with scoreless innings. Blaine Boyer – who’s making a strong case to be included on this team – has now thrown 9 innings of 1-run ball. Frankie Rodriguez appears to be in mid-season form, Bobby Parnell struck out two in his inning, and Taylor Buchholz has now hurled 13 innings without giving up a run.

For a new manager, Collins can’t envision things going much better than they have for this camp.

Knock on wood, that continues.

C U soon
Eddie C.

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