NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran will begin a rehabilitation assignment Thursday and could be manning center field for the New York Mets before the All-Star break.
Beltran has been out all season after having right knee surgery in January. He has been working out at the team's spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. General manager Omar Minaya saw him play Sunday and was pleased with the three-time Gold Glove winner's progress.
But Beltran will have to prove at Class-A St. Lucie that he can go all-out and stay healthy before he is activated from the disabled list. Beltran has expressed an interest in returning to the Mets by the time they play the Florida Marlins in Puerto Rico, his home country, at the end of June, but Minaya said that is unlikely.