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HOMEGROWN HERO

When Mets fans head out to Citi Field to cheer for the home team, they’re also rooting for one of the borough’s own – pitcher Pedro Beato.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Beato grew up in Queens in Woodside and Ridgewood. His love of baseball developed when he was a six-year-old in the Dominican Republic seeing his cousin taking up the sport.

“I went to watch it and starting liking it,” said Beato, who soon started playing with them.

Beato started as an outfielder, and played first base and catcher before finally becoming a pitcher. While growing up in Queens, Beato said he followed the Mets as much as he could, although it was difficult between playing all summer and traveling.

Players like Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson have given Beato “guys to look up to who have had great success in sports,” said Beato, whose favorite memories of growing up in Queens include playing in a park across from his house.

The last day of spring training, Beato found out he’d have the opportunity to become part of his hometown team.

“They last day of spring training they told me ‘you’re going to make the team; you’re going to come up with us.’ I didn’t know how to react,” Beato said. “I was shocked. It’s every baseball player’s dream.”

Beato was able to show his stuff during the first regular game of the season against the Florida Marlins on April 1. He described it as a “nerve-wracking” experience.” Although the Mets lost the game, Beato had a solid start, pitching two innings where there were three hits and no runs or walks.

“I was pretty nervous, especially because my parents were there for my debut,” he said. “Thank goodness I was successful.”

Having that moment out of the way is “a big relief,” Beato said.

“Now I can just breathe and relax and go about my business,” said the 6’4” pitcher.

During the seven games he appeared in from April 1 to April 19, he pitched 10 innings, given up six hits, two walks and no runs, and has tallied seven strikeouts.

So far, Beato said the best piece of advice he has received from one of his new teammates is about his everyday preparation, namely the importance of getting into, following and sticking with a routine.

He has also already seen improvement to the mechanics of his game. Beato’s mental approach has been impacted as well, including learning how to pitch against certain hitters in intense situations.

“My pitches have a lot better movement and I can locate my pitches a lot better,” he said.

Games on April 11, 13 and 19 gave Beato the opportunity to play in front of his hometown crowd in Queens, which he said “feels great.”

“It’s very exciting,” he added. “I don’t know how to explain it.”

Beato said that fans can expect him to be very aggressive when he’s on the mound. He said that when he’s pitching he wants to “go out there and do my job, get it done quick and come up on top.”

“I want to put up good enough numbers that next year I can come back and hopefully make the team again and stick around,” Beato said.

For any kids playing baseball and dreaming of playing in the big leagues, Beato advised that they work hard, study hard and always put their school work before anything else.

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