KANSAS CITY -- Carlos Beltran's at-bat in the first inning on Friday marked his first at Kauffman Stadium since June 24, 2004, when he was still wearing Royal blue. He went 1-for-4 in a Kansas City loss that day and found out later that evening that he had been traded to the Astros.
Beltran has been anticipating this homecoming -- to a place where he played for six-and-a-half years -- since he found out a trip to Kansas City was on the schedule. Beltran was received mostly positively by a divided Cardinals-Royals crowd when he stepped up for that first plate appearance -- the first of two two-run doubles in his his first two at-bats.
This is unlikely, however, to be Beltran's only visit to Kansas City this year. The right fielder is currently in position to be one of three starting outfielders for the National League in the All-Star Game. Kauffman Stadium is hosting the event on July 10.
"If it happens, it's going to be a great moment for me," said Beltran, a six-time All-Star. "Just being able to come back as an All-Star and being able to represent my league. It's going to be emotional."
Beltran also disclosed on Friday that he would be agreeable to participating in the State Farm Home Run Derby, if asked. Beltran has never taken part in the event before.
"I'm not really thinking about that, but that's something that I've never done," Beltran said. "If they approach me, I will think about it. I think it would be fun."
NL Derby captain Matt Kemp of the Dodgers is responsible for choosing the three other league participants. Beltran had 19 home runs, which ranked second in the NL entering Friday's action. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was the leader with 20.