JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran tallied two hits in his return to the Cardinals' lineup on Monday after missing a week's worth of games while dealing with and recovering from the flu. With the illness now passed, Beltran's attention turns to eliminating the tightness he has been feeling in his right shoulder.
Fortunately for Beltran, the tightness is not bothering him when he swings, meaning that he can continue to play in games as a designated hitter. Rather, the tightness is only a nuisance when he throws, which is why Beltran has not yet played in the outfield during Grapefruit League play.
"I'm just trying to be cautious," Beltran said. "There is going to be a point in Spring Training when I have to take the field. I just have to make sure that when I'm in there, I'm ready to go. Every spring you go through stretches where your shoulder gets tired, or your forearm or your bicep. When I started putting a little bit more pressure on the shoulder, it just kind of got tired. But it's not a big deal."
Beltran said he expects to travel with the team on Tuesday to Port St. Lucie, Fla., where he will face the Mets for the first time since New York dealt him away last summer. With only three weeks of Spring Training games remaining, Beltran is going to be playing more regularly, even if it is solely in a DH role for a bit.
"Right now, everything looks fast for me," he said. "The game looks real fast. But the only way that will go is just by playing on a consistent basis."