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Of the NY Mets and the Knees of Carlos Beltran

At the risk of seeming dramatic, the Mets’ fortunes this year likely rest with Carlos Beltran’s knees.

 

Beltran, who has missed a huge chunk of the last two years with knee injuries, appears poised to play Opening Night against the Marlins. And it would be great if he does play in the opener.

 

However, one game a season does not a season make. Here’s hoping the Mets don’t rush Beltran back just for the sake of having him in the lineup on April 1. My guess is the Mets have the good sense not to rush him.

 

New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltrán be...

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The Mets need to have Beltran play 140-150 games, and in the long run it really does not matter whether he plays on Opening Day or not. If Beltran plays today in Florida and the Mets win, that would be great. But it is just one game.

 

Opening games are fun, ceremonial and just great to watch – we all welcome back baseball after six months of cold weather and general boredom (if you are die-hard baseball fans), but one game, in the long run, means as much as the next one.  How did the Mets do on Opening Day last year? I couldn’t tell you without looking it up.  I remember a couple of openers in Mets’ history – including Gary Carter’s walk-off homer in his first game at Shea – but that’s because they were great games, not great opening games.

 

If Beltran stays healthy and plays well this year, the Mets could have a decent team, and even a wild-card contending team. Many Mets fans right now probably believe that this won’t happen, considering the team’s misfortune the last few years and the recent Madoff scandal.

 

In peak form, Beltran can put up amazing numbers. We all remember the postseason he had with the Astros in 2004. The switch-hitter hit 41 homers for the Mets in 2006. Granted, that was five years ago, but Beltran is only 33 years old (he turns 34 next month). He should have some good years left.  If Beltran hits .280 with 25 homers and 25 steals, Mets fans would be happy. That could be asking too much – but you never know.

 

The Mets don’t have a great pitching staff, as everyone knows, with Johan Santana out for an undetermined amount of time. But the offense could be solid, with Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, David Wright, Beltran, Ike Davis and Jason Bay (due for a better year) anchoring the lineup.

 

Regardless of who plays, the 2011 Mets will take the field tonight in Florida. Jose Reyes will step to the plate to get the season going. Regardless of what happens, hopefully it will be a season to remember for Mets fans.

 

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