Out for almost a month, Beltran feels good in return

Outfielder not limited by fractured right small toe, plans to play while it heals

Out for almost a month, Beltran feels good in return

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, who has been nursing an injured toe for nearly a month, returned to Grapefruit League action on Tuesday and seemed to come out of the on-field test with little reason for additional concern.

Playing in his first Spring Training game since Feb. 28, Beltran played 6 1/2 innings in the Cardinals' 11-4 win over the Mets. He reached base three times -- via a single and two walks -- stole a base and scored once. Beltran's mobility wasn't tested much in right field, as only two balls -- a fly ball and a ground-ball single -- came his way.

While Beltran has said he expects his fractured right small toe to be a source of pain for a while, he had no obvious limitations on Tuesday because of the injury.

"He promised me that he was fine," manager Mike Matheny said afterward. "He ran really hard on that first ground ball and turned around and smiled at me. I think he was happy to get back in there. My concern wasn't as much [hitting] as watching his movements. He was running well."

As long as the discomfort in his toe is tolerable, Beltran said he plans to play while it heals.

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.