Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 6/25/13
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 stanmcneal@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Reggie Bush reportedly closing in on contract with Bills

Report: Eric Berry planning to no-show training camp

Eagles could have interest in Gordon if Browns trade him

Report: Fitzpatrick, Jets not likely to have deal before camp

Report: Anquan Boldin signs one-year deal with Detroit Lions

Formula One CEO's mother-in-law kidnapped in Brazil

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

Report: Kansas City Chiefs' Justin Houston likely to miss regular-season games

Padres reportedly making progress on Cashner trade

NFL Network to stream on PlayStation Vue

Report: Eagles’ Nigel Bradham charged for assaulting cabana boy

Rudy Gay underwent minor Achilles procedure this summer

Bashaud Breeland brought puppies to Washington camp

Tyler Johnson 'threw up a couple of times' over $50M deal

Should the Yankees hold a fire sale?

Five young soccer players to keep an eye on at Rio Olympics

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker