It goes without saying that Carlos Beltran is a crucial part of the Mets lineup. Since his microfracture surgery in January, the question has been when he will return to the Mets. However, no one has been able to answer this.

The Mets moved Beltran to the 60 day disabled list today. This is more of a procedural move than a sign of anything else. The Mets needed to clear a space on their 40- man roster for the recently acquired Justin Turner. Beltran was put on the DL on March 26, so the move will not impact his return date.

After looking through medical journals, one finds out that someone who had microfracture surgery is supposed to keep weight off the knee and hobble around on crutches for six to eight weeks. The prognosis for the surgery is that someone who was operated on will be able to return to sports in about four months.

It has been said that with elite athletes, the timetable for return is normally shorter than the original prognosis.

Beltran has just recently reached the four-month mark and he has not yet returned to baseball. Carlos has just recently started to jog. He is working towards being able to run. It is unknown when Beltran will be able to play in a simulated game.

Once Beltran plays in a simulated game he will likely have a two to three week rehab assignment in the minors. No one knows how Beltran will play after he returns. His defense may suffer because of a limited range of motion. His swing could also be affected as a result of the surgery.

Is there anyone to blame for Beltran being behind schedule? Beltran should have been rehabbing for hours everyday. The Mets medical staff should have been watching him. Beltran should be a bit farther in his rehab at this point in the year.

Some of the blame should be placed on the Mets medical staff. They have mishandled numerous injuries in the past (see Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, Jon Niese, Luis Castillo).

It has been rumored that as a worse case scenario Beltran would miss the entire season. This would obviously be a massive loss. His 25 + HR and 110 + RBI bat cannot and has not fully been replaced. Beltran’s defense also cannot be replaced.

The Mets are missing a perennial All-Star and are only four games out of first place. Beltran’s return could push the Mets over the top and back into first place in the NL East.

Mets fans must start questioning why Beltran has not returned to baseball activity at this point in the year and when he will be back. He could be the missing link between the Mets and playoff baseball.

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