Beltran excited about return to New York

Updated: December 20, 2013

Bronx, NY ( – Carlos Beltran is back in New York, this time
as a New York Yankee.

The former New York Mets star officially signed a three-year contract on
Thursday and donned a No. 36 Yankee pinstripe uniform on Friday.

“It’s a great honor to be back in the city,” said Beltran on Friday. “I
learned about the city and am happy to have an opportunity to come back again,
this time as a Yankee. I grew up being a Yankee fan, a Bernie Williams fan.”

Beltran was almost a Yankee when he was the star free agent on the market
after the 2004 season. He instead signed a seven-year, $119 million contract
with the Mets and played across town until being dealt to the San Francisco
Giants before the 2011 trade deadline.

“They couldn’t commit to me for the years I was looking for,” Beltran said
about talks with the Yankees nine years ago. “At the end of the day, I needed
to do what was best for me and my family and they needed to do what was best
for the organization and I ended up signing with the Mets.”

Beltran nearly carried the Mets to the National League pennant in 2006, coming
up short in Game 7 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was the
last out of the series, taking a called third strike from Adam Wainwright.

Despite good numbers during his tenure in Queens, many Mets fans only remember
Beltran for keeping the bat on his shoulder in Game 7. He’ll return to Queens
as a member of the Yankees in May.

“It’s going to be fun,” Beltran quipped about playing in Citi Field. “I have
good memories in Queens. I have only good things to say about the Mets.

“Some (fans) are going to cheer, some are going to boo. At the end of the day,
I’m going to play baseball.”

Beltran, who will turn 37 in April, batted .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBI in
145 games for the Cardinals last season, helping St. Louis reach the World
Series. It was the final season of a two-year, $26 million pact.

His new deal will reportedly pay him $45 million.

Over 16 major league seasons, Beltran has batted .283 with 358 homers and
1,327 RBI. He spent his first 6 1/2 seasons playing for Kansas City and was
dealt to the Astros during the 2004 campaign before signing his big free-agent
deal with the Mets.

Beltran has appeared in the postseason just four times (2004, Astros; 2006,
Mets; 2012-13 Cardinals). He has put up incredible numbers, however, with 16
home runs and 40 RBI in just 51 games.