Willie Randolph knew Beltran had been hurting for almost two weeks and never questioned his center fielder's willingness to play through pain.
Then why was Beltran so intent on telling the masses? He wasn't looking for sympathy. Asked why, Randolph was unsure. Asked whether Beltran ever had been accused of not playing when hurt or not playing hard, Randolph hesitated. He didn't want to portray Beltran unfairly.
"He runs so smoothly and does this so effortlessly, people sometimes accuse him of not giving everything he has. You heard about that when he first came up [with the Royals] ," Randolph said. "But we haven't seen anything like that. We wouldn't have gone after him if effort was an issue."
The quad prevented Beltran from starting Sunday, though was available to pinch-hit, he said. The muscle was less sore, but it still was grabbing when he walked. Beltran estimated he'll miss three to four games. But he never has had an injury of this nature, so his prognosis is suspect.
Beltran's problem seemingly is worse than the strained neck Kaz Matsui suffered Saturday. Matsui was removed from the game and didn't start Sunday either.
Scott free: General manager Omar Minaya indicated Sunday the Mets had no plans to promote Scott Strickland. So by the terms of the agreement Strickland's agent negotiated with assistant general manager Jim Duquette last weekend, Strickland becomes eligible Monday to become a free agent.
The Mets don't know if other clubs have interest in the veteran relief pitcher. But they are not inclined to disturb their bullpen at this point, and they can't afford to reduce the number of position players on the 25-man roster, especially with Beltran and Matsui injured.
May 23 Mets history: In 1986, Mookie Wilson produced his first career five-hit game against the Padres in San Diego. One of his hits was his 46th career triple. It established a club record, exceeding Buddy Harrelson's 45. Wilson increased the record to 62 before he was traded to the Blue Jays in 1989.
Harrelson's 45 still ranks second in club history. Lance Johnson, who had 21 triples -- a single-season club record -- in 1996, ranks sixth in club history in career triples with 27, and he played less than two full seasons with the Mets.
Where does that suggest Jose Reyes might stand if he plays with the Mets for as long as Wilson played (almost 10 full seasons)? Reyes began this season with seven career triples. He has four this season, all in a five-game sequence that began against the Reds on Monday. He was tied for the National League lead when play began Sunday.
After his triple Saturday, Reyes was asked which he would prefer -- five home runs or six triples. He chose the home runs because of the runs batted in. And if the RBIs were equal?
"I'd take the triples," he said. "I love to run."
And what of an inside-the-park home run?
"I'll take that first," he said. "That's the best."
The Mets have had one inside-the-park home run since 1995 -- by Timo Perez, in 2000. Carlos Beltran hit two with the Royals, but no other active Met has one.
May 23 Mets history (Part two): The Mets purchased outfielder Jimmy Piersall from the Washington Senators in 1963. He hit his 100th home run against the Mets -- off Dallas Green -- in 1963 and ran backwards around the bases. Green wasn't amused. ... Nine years later, Hall-of-Famer-to-be Fergie Jenkins beat the Mets, 2-1 at Wrigley Field, ending their 11-game winning streak.
On deck: Good, old National League baseball, normal baseball. No pinstripes, subways or subplots. The Mets get back to the business of trying to win the National League East against the team that always does, the Braves. But the Braves were hurting and not in first place when play began Sunday. Kaz Ishii opposes Horacio Ramirez.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.