Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Beltran's Future Depends on the Present; Veteran Outfielder, Who Is in the Last Year of His Contract, Would like to Stay with Cardinals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Beltran's Future Depends on the Present; Veteran Outfielder, Who Is in the Last Year of His Contract, Would like to Stay with Cardinals

Article excerpt

A veteran of almost everything baseball can offer with the All- Star appearances and knee operations to prove it Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran knows the business and understands the club doesnt owe him any insight into its future.

But he said Monday he would like to be a part of it.

That will depend entirely, he added, on the present.

I have to find out what the organizations plans are they dont really have to come to me and explain it to me, Beltran said during his appearance on the final day of the teams 17th annual Winter Warm- Up. It depends on how this year goes, probably. I really love playing here. Theres no doubt about that. I experienced something I didnt experience in a long time, being able to be in a good clubhouse, so many good people and playing in front of these fans. It makes everything easy.

Well see what happens.

Beltran, who turns 36 in April, is entering the final year of his two-year, $26 million contract with the team, a deal he signed as part of his pursuit of a World Series championship. The switch- hitter delivered a team-high 32 home runs last season to go with 97 RBIs, an All-Star appearance, and, as impressive, 151 games played. He played more innings in the field than he had since 2008, and a contributing factor to his durability and productivity was the Cardinals plan to proactively schedule days off for the veteran outfielder.

Knee injuries that required surgery eroded his playing time and limited him to 145 games total from 2009 to 2010. Hes played at least 140 in the past two seasons, and health has meant wealth. Beltrans 54 home runs in the past two seasons, his .510 slugging percentage and his 181 RBIs all rank in the top 10 among all outfielders. The Cardinals intend to be responsive to his knees and his needs, and could even expand that umbrella of pre-emptive rest to include other veterans such as shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Were going to try and be very careful, manager Mike Matheny said. But in the same breath these are two guys (Beltran and Furcal) who have had very good careers. They know their bodies better than we do. Were going to keep a close eye but were also going to give them say. Carlos did a terrific job last year, there were multiple times where I thought he was going to be OK, and he came in and said there is something not right today. And the very next he showed up and dazzled us. Hes earned that.

Beltran accepts the need to tread cautiously at times. He does not surrender to it.

I want to say this: I dont like days off, Beltran said. I feel like when I get a day off there is nothing I can contribute. I would love to be out there every day. But sometimes I understand when you play every day, especially in my case, I tightened up a little bit. It was Mike who came to me, Here, today, might be a good day. …

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