NEW YORK – Carlos Beltran's abbreviated season is over after an MRI showed he has mild inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.
Beltran left the New York Mets' game against Milwaukee on Tuesday night and had the test Wednesday. Wearing a Mets uniform in between games of a doubleheader Wednesday, the All-Star center fielder explained that the news was actually good.
The doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery "said the bone bruise, everything, looks better than in past MRIs, Beltran said. "I'm happy for that part. The part that I'm not happy about is just that I wanted to finish the season playing but by the recommendation of the doctor is they don't want me to play."
Beltran was told the swelling could go down in three to four days, and he's not planning on altering his offseason program to strengthen the knee that kept him out for all but 64 games this year.
"I think the good news is there's nothing new," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "We were very fortunate to have him play the amount of games that he played us
The tests were sent to Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed the surgery in Colorado — an operation that was a point of dispute between the team and Beltran over the timing of the procedure and the club's evaluation of his knee — but Beltran has not yet heard Steadman's analysis.
Beltran had the operation on Jan. 13 and returned after the All-Star break. The career .282 hitter was batting .255 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 220 at-bats. But he had five of his homers and 13 RBIs in September, including two homers Sunday, his previous game.
"It was tough trying to get the swing back, and finally I was starting to feel better at the plate but unfortunately this thing happened," Beltran said. "But at same time I feel like I'm making improvement."
After playing only 81 games in 2009 because of because of a painful bone bruise in knee and this season, the Mets have to determine if Beltran can be a productive player in the final season of his $119 million, seven-year contract he signed with the Mets before 2005.
Any setbacks could make him even more difficult to trade in the offseason should the Mets explore that route.