Regardless of all the excitement Carlos Beltran provided Astros fans last season, his decision to join the Mets made him their enemy yesterday in his first trip back to Minute Maid Park.
The boos were so loud when he stepped from the on-deck circle to the plate in the top of the first inning that it was hard to hear his name announced. After a called strike on the first pitch, the nearly full stadium was filled with even more cheering.
The boos returned in the bottom of the first when Beltran made a routine catch in the outfield, and the evening got no better as he finished hitless in four at-bats.
"I tried to block it out, but I was too close. I couldn't block it out," Beltran said. "But to be honest, I don't care at all. They can boo me. I just want to concentrate on my game. It's just hard to block all that noise out."
In 12 playoff games last year, he hit eight home runs and batted .435, helping Houston win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
* PADRES, PIRATES MAKE DEAL: A day after starting C Ramon Hernandez elected to have wrist surgery, San Diego obtained C David Ross from Pittsburgh for minor league SS J.J. Furmaniak.
Hernandez is scheduled to have surgery today to repair a cartilage tear.
* KUDOS FOR COLEMAN: Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman will be inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in Quantico, Va., today, and the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday as the 2005 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award. Coleman, a second baseman with the Yankees, interrupted his career twice to fly as a Marine pilot in World War II and Korea. He flew 120 missions and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy Citations.
-- From News Services