Beltran inches closer to return as Mets must choose between Pagan or Frenchy

Angel Pagan could not have chosen a better night for a near-cycle.

Just hours after general manager Omar Minaya announced that star center fielder Carlos Beltran is improving and will begin rehab games soon, Pagan nearly hit for the cycle. Pagan, along with Jeff Francoeur, said they aren’t worried about what will happen to the defensive alignment in the outfield upon Beltran’s return. Beltran is expected to return to his normal center field position, while Jerry Manuel will be forced to make decisions on whether he will use Francoeur or Pagan more often in right field.

This situation has left me scratching my head a little bit, but not too much. I’m surprised Jason Bay’s job seems so secure, considering his mediocre season thus far. I understand the team has invested a lot of money into him and he still has half the season to live up to some of the expectations, but he really hasn’t shown that his position on the team should be etched in stone.

One way the Mets may handle this situation is by inserting Pagan in the starting lineup in right field and then putting Francoeur in during the late innings for defense. Francoeur is known for having a great arm and tends to leads the league in outfield assists year after year.

Minaya said that Beltran will begin his rehab assignments with the St. Lucie Mets, and the team will monitor his progress and make decisions about his future based on his performance.

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