WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was like Carlos Beltran never left the Astros.Beltran, appearing in an Astros uniform for the first time since he homered in five consecutive games in the 2004 playoffs, homered to left field in his second at-bat in his Grapefruit League debut in Monday's 4-3
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was like Carlos Beltran never left the Astros.
Beltran, appearing in an Astros uniform for the first time since he homered in five consecutive games in the 2004 playoffs, homered to left field in his second at-bat in his Grapefruit League debut in Monday's 4-3 loss to the Nationals.
Beltran, who signed a one-year, $16-million deal to return to the Astros at 39 years old, started at designated hitter and got two at-bats, flying out to center before taking former Mets teammate Oliver Perez deep in the fourth inning.
"For me, honestly, the first games of Spring Training, all you're trying to do is think about quality at-bats, make sure you feel on balance and on time and the results, you have no control," Beltran said. "Thank God I was able to put a good swing on that one. I didn't know it was going to leave the ballpark, but it was good to be able to finish the day on a positive note."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Beltran will bat second and play left field in Wednesday's game against the Marlins at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. He will be primarily a DH during the season, but the Astros want to introduce him to left field so they can keep his bat in the lineup in order to spread around at-bats at DH. He's appeared in only two games in left field in his career, and that was in 2000 with the Royals.
"The more he can play left field, the better versatility it gives our roster," Hinch said. "He swings the bat like he did today, I'll think he'll [be in the lineup] every day."
Beltran will leave camp Monday to head to Arizona to begin training for the World Baseball Classic. He and teammate Carlos Correa will be playing for Puerto Rico.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.