New York (48-40) at San Francisco (47-41)

Fair Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Thu Jul 15, 2010
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The New York Mets are excited to finally get Carlos Beltran(notes) back.

Beltran will make his season debut Thursday night when the Mets begin a four-game road series against Tim Lincecum(notes) and the San Francisco Giants.

Manager Jerry Manuel said the five-time All-Star will play center field and bat cleanup Thursday against the Giants (47-41) after being out following right knee surgery.

Beltran played 14 games on a rehab assignment with Class-A St. Lucie before reuniting with his teammates Sunday. He said he’s pain-free and ready to go, but isn’t sure how rusty he’ll be at the plate.

“Who knows? I mean, 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 like I say, do my part. Being able to contribute any way I can, and I believe in that.”

Beltran was limited to 81 games for New York (48-40) last year due to a bone bruise. He batted .325 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs.

The slugger is 4 for 7 against Lincecum (9-4, 3.16 ERA), who avoided losing a career-worst third straight start last Wednesday in a 15-2 win at Milwaukee. He allowed one run over seven innings and struck out 10.

“This kid, he’s special and you’re going to have bumps in the road and it’s something that he’s had to overcome,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Timmy looks, now, like he’s on a mission to get back on track.”

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.04 ERA in four starts against New York, yielding two runs over six innings in a 6-5 road win May 9. The Mets are one of two NL opponents he has never beaten.

Other key New York hitters have not fared as well as Beltran against Lincecum, with David Wright(notes) going 2 for 11 with eight strikeouts and Jeff Francouer 3 for 16.

Francouer will not start Thursday and his playing time will diminish with Beltran back. Manuel said that Angel Pagan(notes), who played center in Beltran’s absence, will start Thursday in right field.

“You’re not going to see me sulking. I’ll be ready to play,” Francoeur said.

The second-place Mets are four games behind Atlanta, which they beat 3-0 at home Sunday, as they begin an 11-game road trip.

That’s the same margin by which fourth-place San Francisco trails NL West leader San Diego. The Giants won six of seven last week behind NL player of the week Buster Posey(notes), who was 15 for 27 with five homers and 14 RBIs in that stretch.

San Francisco has never faced scheduled starter R.A. Dickey(notes) (6-2, 2.77), who has gone 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last three outings after winning six straight starts from May 25-June 23.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Dickey Tor vs. T. Lincecum SF
11-9 Record 16-10
2.84 ERA 3.43
104 K 231
42 BB 76
1.19 WHIP 1.27


Thursday, Jul 15