May 04

May 4.10: Seeing is believing.

This falls under the `I’ll believe it when I see it’ category. Carlos Beltran is taking soft toss BP in Port St. Lucie and is hopeful of running, then resuming baseball activities later this week. “It all begins with running,” Beltran told reporters in Florida. There is no timetable for Beltran’s return until he begins running. Until then, everything is merely wishful thinking.

I thought of Beltran last night while watching the Mets’ offense sputter in losing to the Reds. Oliver Perez did his job, and so did the bullpen, but the game was lost at the plate. The Mets were cooked the last two games in Philadelphia, but last night was a winnable game, and losses like that ultimately come back to haunt a team.

Last night also reinforced the streaky nature of this team. It is capable of winning seven straight one week and going on a losing streak the next. As evidenced by their record, the Mets are barely a win-one, lose-one type of team.

Save for a few games, the offense has been inconsistent all season, and Beltran’s absence is a big part of the reason.

Losing Beltran forced Jerry Manuel to juggle his line-up by moving Jose Reyes to third. The problem is Reyes is not a No. 3 hitter and it has weakened the leadoff position. Reyes is not playing his normal game, two hits last night notwithstanding. Nor is his replacement, Angel Pagan, a leadoff hitter.

Mar 11

Mets Notes

* Mike Pelfrey’s strained left leg has improved enough to where he’ll start Saturday against Washington. Pelfrey threw in the BP today and told reporters: “I felt it a little bit, but it’s a lot better. If it was the regular season and I had to pitch today, I would’ve.”

* Carlos Delgado got six hits in his first seven at-bats playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC.

* Jon Niese gave up a hit and a walk in four scoreless innings in a minor league game today. Niese is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

* Outfielder Angel Pagan underwent arthroscopic surgery in New York to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and could be out as long as nine weeks. Pagan didn’t play last year after May 12 after injuring his shoulder when he fell into the stands in Los Angeles.

Mar 07

Santana passes BP test

SANTANA: Pitched BP today.

SANTANA: Pitched BP today.

Johan Santana threw a 36-pitch bullpen session today and in on target to be ready for Opening Day.

Santana told reporters: “I pitched today with no problems in my elbow or my arm or anything, so I am fine, and at the same time I was working on my pitches and I was able to command it, so that’s what you want to see.

“For being my first time facing hitters, I think it was pretty good. Everything was there — breaking ball was there, my change up was there, my arm speed, my legs are there. That’s what you are looking for. You look for your legs to be there and to feel comfortable, and that’s how I felt.”

Barring a setback Santana could get in a minor league game this week.

Mar 07

Injury updates …. Santana to throw BP

Johan Santana will throw batting today, and if all goes well, five days after that he could throw in a minor league game.

Manager Jerry Manuel said it means Santana could be on track to pitch the “all important’’ Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Luis Castillo is experience tightness in his left hamstring and is day-to-day.

Ryan Church is expected to play this afternoon after missing two games with a bruised right knee.

Nov 08

On the Table: Room for just one more.

I was thinking about this at breakfast: If the Mets were to sign just one free agent, who would it be? Immediately, I discarded CC Sabathia, K-Rod and Manny Ramirez, because I don’t see them paying that much.

They need bullpen help, and you could look at it a couple of ways. One, is to get reliable starters to shave the BP innings, and if Maine comes back healthy, they’ll have three. Should they sign Lowe, theoretically that’s four reliable starters, which cuts the BP innings, but still leaves you vulnerable on a fifth day and in the ninth inning throughout.

So, if I’m forced to pick one, I’m going with the closer. I know it’s tempting to think K-Rod, but my confidence level in him is he’ll break down. The next best closer on the market is Brian Fuentes. No Mariano Rivera, but who is?

My choice, if to sign just one free agent, is to go with Fuentes to plug the leak in the ninth inning. Seven games got away. If all else remains equal and Fuentes cuts that in half, that should put them ahead of the Phillies.

Remember, this exercise is about adding just one player. If you have somebody different, let’s hear it.