Found June 25, 2013 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS -- Whenever Cardinals manager Mike Matheny works out before games, which is often, he uses the same weight room as his players at Busch Stadium. One player whom he sees regularly is Carlos Beltran who, at 36, is hitting more like he did at 26.
"Watch him in the weight room and you know it's not just by chance," Matheny says. "He's doing a lot to stay in the shape he's in."
The Cardinals believe more down time has helped Beltran stay more consistent through the first half. At this point last season, he had missed only three games. This year, he has already sat seven games and has come off the bench in three others.
Being another year removed from knee issues hasn't hurt, either. After spending much of last season hitting cleanup behind Matt Holliday, Beltran also seems to be benefiting from hitting second, in the spot ahead of Holliday. And most players always are more comfortable in their second season after switching teams.
But ask Beltran how he's turning back the clock and he shrugs. "I feel good, man, physically I feel good," he says.
Really. It's as simple as good health?
"I'm not coming to the ballpark thinking about this bothering me, or that bothering me," he says. "When you come to the ballpark like that, it's harder. You are thinking about what you can do to survive, to get through that day. That mentality is a grind. It takes away a lot from your game when you're not healthy."
His good health has produced robust numbers. Beltran went into Tuesday night's game at Houston with 17 homers and a .305 batting average, both among the best in the National League. He also leads NL outfielders in fan balloting for the All-Star Game, which will be played in his old stomping grounds in Queens. A trip to the All-Star Game would be his eighth in 16 big league seasons.
Beltran admits to making one change this season that has helped his game.
"Only thing is I'm a little more consistent with my strengthening program," he says. "I'm making sure I do my legs three times a week but other than that, everything is basically the same as last year."
Perhaps Beltran is downplaying his success because he knows the season is not even half over. As well as he has played this year, he was even better to this point last year. After the Cardinals' first 76 games in 2012, Beltran was hitting .312 with 20 homers and 59 RBIs.
Then came July and August, when Beltran hit only .206 and his overall average dropped to .266. He would bounce back some in September to finish the regular season at .269 with 32 homers.
"I understand there's going to be a month where you probably don't do well. This game is about ups and downs," he says. "For these first three months, I feel like I've been doing my job consistently. I'm doing my part. I like that."
If Beltran's ups continue to outweigh the downs in the second half, he will be in position to land another multi-year deal. But with Matt Adams looking ready and top prospect Oscar Taveras on the way, the Cardinals aren't likely to offer Beltran another 26 million, two-year contract. They figure to go no more than one year, and that would be expected to come in the way of a qualifying offer (which would secure the Cardinals a first-round draft pick if he signed with another team).
While Beltran says he would like to stay with the Cardinals, he hasn't been approached by general manager John Mozeliak and he's been around St. Louis long enough to size up the situation. Beltran won't say how much longer he hopes to play in the majors, but the way he's going, it's safe to assume he has at least a couple of more years in him.
"He's at an age where you anticipate plateauing off," Matheny says. "But he just seems to keep getting better. It's been incredible."
"I don't want to say how many more years I want to play because who knows," Beltran says. "Anything can change. But right now, I'm happy. And I'm happy things are going well."
No matter what the reason.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Major League Baseball All-Star game is approaching and it is time to look at who should be on the roster. With the best record and the best run differential in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals figure to be well represented at the midsummer classic. This is an analysis of which Cardinal position players should make the team, with a look at the...
After taking a look at who the Cardinals might pursue at the trade deadline a couple weeks ago, its time to think about who the Cards might trade to get some of those players. This is not to say that any of these players will be traded in July, but that these guys are, for various reasons, potential trade chips for the team.
First Tier - The Blockbuster Guys
These guys would...
ST. LOUIS -- Maybe the two-hour and 59-minute weather delay had fouled their mood. Maybe all the delays over the past few weeks -- 15 hours and 22 minutes worth -- had worn out their patience. Or maybe being swept for the first time all season brought out their unpleasant side.
Whatever the reason, Adam Wainwright was visibly steamed and Mike Matheny was clearly bothered after the...
Recently, I took the time to look into the scenario of trading hometown hero David Freese while the time is right for the St. Louis Cardinals.
To say the idea is not well received, especially by Yahoo fans, would be an understatement. However, the reasons to move now are compelling and the idea seems to be a popular one around the internet these days. In the article, I explain...
ST. LOUIS -- As the national profile of Yadier Molina climbs into the superstar stratosphere, manager Mike Matheny has a reaction that many Cardinals fans can relate to.
"What's taken so long," Matheny asks.
Matheny, of course, has long extolled the virtues of the 29-year-old catcher. The skipper sees Molina handle the Cardinals' pitching staff like a coach....
Jordan Swagerty, St. Louis Cardinals second-round pick of the 2010 MLB draft, was one of
the team's top pitching prospects prior to his injury in 2012. When going to
monitor his elbow pain, team doctors found bone spurs but also decided to
proactively perform Tommy John surgery to help prevent any possible future
injury as well.
been on the road to recovery...
ST. LOUIS (AP) Adam Wainwright lost the lead in the seventh, and then he lost his temper.
The St. Louis Cardinals ace strenuously objected to being pulled before Ian Kinsler's go-ahead hit that helped the Texas Rangers complete a soggy three-game interleague sweep with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.
Hearing manager Mike Matheny's assessment that he'd been "laboring...
The Baby Birds went 3-2 with Memphis, Palm Beach, and Johnson City all winning. Springfield is on its all-star break and State College was rained out after 1 and 1/2 innings. Tyler Lyons (pictured) was awesome in his return to Memphis and Anthony Garcia and David Popkins continue their hot hitting. Johnson City improves to 5-1 and have a very exciting lead-off hitter in Vaughn Bryan...
On Tuesday the Cardinals placed Memphis Redbirds’ slugger and top prospect Oscar Taveras on the 7-day disabled list, a move that was a surprise to no one. Taveras was removed from the Redbirds’ game on June 23rd after trying to get back to second base on a pick off attempt. Taveras would later score on a home run, but his limp became worse. This will be Taveras’ second stint...
It would be hard to overstate the value of Yadier Molina’s contributions to the Cardinals so far in 2013. His ability to manage the pitching staff is well publicized. His canon of an arm is well known to virtually every big league runner. The way he frames pitches behind the plate gets his pitchers the call, even when the pitch is questionable. Since Albert Pujols left for Anaheim...
After his worst outing in a stellar season, the St. Louis Cardinals' Lance Lynn quickly regained his dominant form. Given his performances against Houston over his career, there's a good chance he could show that again Wednesday night.
The right-hander will seek to reach 11 wins before the All-Star break for the second straight season in the series finale against the Astros...
The Cardinals are 12-11 in June
And are 1 game up on the Pirates for the NL Central lead (2.5 on the Reds).
A lost weekend in St. Louis was capped off by a 3 hour rain delay that pushed the Sunday night showcase into a Monday Morning meltdown. Swept out of town and looking closer to the pre-season predictions than the powerhouse that April and May spawned...
Hot News for P Fernando Salas
Allen Craig homered and had a season-high four hits with three RBIs, and Carlos Beltran and David Freese both added a homer as the St. Louis Cardinals got back on track by rolling to a 13-5 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals managed just seven runs combined in a three-game sweep by the Texas Rangers, the first time they were swept this season. On Tuesday...