Angel Pagan arrived in Met camp today assured of a regular spot in the outfield this season--the only question is will it be in right or center? Of course, that remains to be seen with the health of Carlos Beltran the overriding factor in that decision.
On that topic Pagan said, "If Carlos Beltran is healthy no doubt he will be the centerfielder." Remember Pagan has a long standing friendship with Beltran dating back to before they were teammates in New York. "Carlos taught me so much", says Pagan, "and his advice has clearly helped me to succeed on this level." In many ways, 2010 was a breakout year for Angel as he finally had a fully healthy season and his numbers supplanted the notion that he could be a core player in years to come.
But the evolution of Angel Pagan as a person has been as interesting as his evolution as a player. He is very much a go to guy in that clubhouse for both his teammates and the media. And if you think the centerfield decision could affect his friendship with Beltran, forget it. "Whatever happens we will have 2 centerfielders out there at the same time, and that will only makes us better defensively," says Pagan.
In years to come, Pagan will patrol centerfield for the Mets but he knows it is in the best interest of the team to keep Beltran there if he's healthy for no other reason than Pagan has played rightfield and Beltran has not. That is the true definition of team leadership and the evolution of Pagan in that role on this team has been great to see.
To hear the entire interview session click here: