Carlos Beltran: 2009 Will Be a Banner Year

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
Carlos Beltran is one of those guys that after baseball can be an excellent goodwill ambassador for Puerto Rico. And these days he is very proud to be in that role once again as a member of the Island squad for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

” For me it’s a great experience to be able to play with all the active players of Puerto Rico”, Beltran said. “Everyone’s having the opportunity to represent their country right now. We’re here to have fun do our best and whatever happens, we’ll be happy with it”

Beltran, 31, have been one of the main voices of the Puerto Rican team all winter long and with teammate Alex Cora he is very confident that they can reach this time the big prize of the Classic. The Final Four.

However to meet the goal the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year emphasizes they need a huge support from the home crowd at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan starting next Saturday.

“We were part of the first Classic and when we went to Puerto Rico the excitement of the fans was unbelievable. I hope this time again will be the same or better”, Beltran said.

And for Beltran, he hopes the Classic helps him this season to a great year.
“Playing in the Classic makes spring training go faster. We’re playing real games  now. The excitement and the intensity we put into these games is always great. It’s going to prepare us to play for the Mets. It brings intensity to you early in the season. When you play spring training games you only get two or three at bats. Now, we get to play the whole nine innings.”

Beltran pointed out that this is not only the year Puerto Rico will get in to the Finals of the Classic. He also pointed this is the year his New York Mets also will reach the World Series.

“The Mets did a lot of good things. They signed Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz and that relly improve our bullpen. Those two can be closers on any team. We lost last year a lot of games last year late into the games. That can change this year”

OTHER BORICUA METS NOTES: RHP Nelson Figueroa is still hopeful can make the 25-roster for the upcoming season. He is battling veterans Livan Hernandez and Freddy Garcia for the fifth-spot starter position. Figueroa acknowledged that if he can not start in the Majors he will welcome a minor league assignment…..Jesus “Motorita” Feliciano mentioned he acknowledge will start in Triple A-Buffalo this upcoming season but is hopeful will get his Majors debut chance this year…..Jose “Tony” Valentin if he does not make the 25-roster will be send by the organization to Triple A- Buffalo as a player-coach. General Manager Omar Minaya believes Valentin can become a Manager in the Mets minor league system in the very near future……Rumours are running around that Beltran and Carlos Delgado are trying to push Minaya to sign Ivan Rodriguez to a one year deal.

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