Beltran plans to play through toe pain Tuesday

Beltran plans to play through toe pain Tuesday

JUPITER, Fla. -- Despite persistent pain from a fractured right small toe, Carlos Beltran said he plans to play through the discomfort and take the field for Tuesday's game against the Mets. Doing so without any further setback would certainly boost Beltran's chances of being able to start the season off the disabled list.

The Cardinals' season opener against the D-backs now sits one week away.

"I'm going to do whatever it takes to get back into playing full games," Beltran said. "I want to be ready for Opening Day. There's no doubt I'm going to be there. If I'm there and feel healthy, everything is going to be good."

Beltran has not played in a Grapefruit League game since a pitch hit him on the toe on Feb. 28. Days later, he left to participate in the World Baseball Classic, where he appeared in nine games for Puerto Rico. Beltran hit .188 (6-for-32) en route to the Classic title game against the Dominican Republic, serving as designated hitter in all but one game due to his toe injury.

Since returning to Spring Training on Friday, Beltran has done limited work. He played five innings in Minor League game Sunday and spent Monday morning taking swings in the batting cage.

"It's something that's not going to go away," Beltran said. "It's going to be there. I just need to find a way to try to do something that makes it better. It still hurts and it still bothers me. I talked to the doctor already, and he said it's not going to get worse. I need to get the treatment and try to get the swelling out and play through it as much as I can. I just want to make sure that when I'm in, that I stay in."

Because Beltran took 32 at-bats in the World Baseball Classic, the Cardinals are more concerned about his mobility and readiness on defense. Beltran agrees, noting that though he played through pain during the Classic, he was able to get enough at-bats to make this recent inactivity less of a concern.

"It forced me to do something every day," Beltran said. "Maybe if I would have stayed here, it would have been a little bit different. There, I have no options. It's kind of like I need to get in the lineup because that's the only option. In that [regard], it was good."

If Beltran appears in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game, it will eliminate the Cardinals' ability to potentially backdate a disabled list stint the maximum 10 days. To do so, a player cannot play in a Major League spring game after March 21.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.