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Beltran set to return to lineup Thursday

NEW YORK — The Mets on Sunday said CF Carlos Beltran, out all season after right knee surgery, will play Thursday.

The five-time All-Star, who played 14 games at Class A, said he's pain-free but isn't sure how rusty he'll be.

"The way I played in Port St. Lucie, I think I swung the bat well. But at the big-league level, it's a different story," Beltran said. "I do feel like I need to make adjustments. It will take me time. I don't expect to come here and rake. I just expect to come here and … do my part."

Beltran was limited to 81 games last season because of a bone bruise in the knee. He had arthroscopic surgery to clean out the arthritic area Jan. 13.

More Mets: LF Jason Bay was rested on a day fans received his bobblehead. Manager Jerry Manuel said he wanted Bay to "start fresh" after the break: "I think he's been a little tired for a while." LHP Oliver Perez, out with tendinitis in his right knee, made his third rehab start, throwing 100 pitches over five innings and allowing an unearned run at Triple A. The Mets said he likely will make one more start before returning.

Bagwell becomes Astros' hitting coach

HOUSTON — Former Astros star Jeff Bagwell took over as their hitting coach after Sean Berry was fired.

Berry was "a victim of circumstances," GM Ed Wade said. Houston entered Sunday with the majors' second-worst batting average (.237) and worst on-base percentage (.295) and tied for the third-fewest homers (57).

Bagwell, Houston's first baseman from 1991 to 2005, had a team-record 449 homers and 1,529 RBIs and was rookie of the year in 1991 and MVP in 1994. He said he had been thinking about his future when Wade approached him.

"I'm 42 years old, and it's time for me to do something else," Bagwell said. "I know baseball. Hopefully, we're going to find out in a couple of months that I know a little about hitting, too."

All-Star game: Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo replaced Braves OF Jason Heyward, who has a deep bone bruise in his left thumb. NL manager Charlie Manuel had picked Braves closer Billy Wagner, but he declined because of a sore left ankle. Kuo is the first All-Star born in Taiwan. The Brewers' Corey Hart will start for Heyward. Tigers RHP Justin Verlander, A's RHP Andrew Bailey and Angels RHP Jered Weaver were added. They replace Yankees LHP CC Sabathia and A's RHP Trevor Cahill, who can't play under a new rule that eliminates pitchers who start on the Sunday before the game. Weaver was added despite pitching Sunday so he can take part in the festivities and be announced to the home crowd.

Padres: RH reliever Mike Adams left in the eighth with an oblique strain. His status hasn't been determined.

Phillies: 3B Placido Polanco, on the DL with left elbow inflammation, will head to Clearwater on Tuesday to work out and begin a rehab stint.

Red Sox: All-Star 3B Adrian Beltre left in the sixth with a strained left hamstring. His status has not been determined. OF Mike Cameron sat a day after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch. And Josh Beckett, out since May 19 with a lower back strain, allowed a run over four innings in his first rehab start at Triple A. His next start hasn't been determined.

Royals: RHP Zack Greinke was scratched from Sunday's start because of soreness in his back right shoulder. But the team said it was only precautionary and 2009's Cy Young winner is expected to start Friday.

Twins: C Joe Mauer sat with a sore shoulder. He was hit there by several foul tips in recent days.

Beltran set to return to lineup Thursday 07/11/10 [Last modified: Sunday, July 11, 2010 9:47pm]

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