By MARK DIDTLER, Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Carlos Beltran is excited to play alongside Derek Jeter on the New York Yankees.
“I know he has a lot of championships, but I have none,” Beltran said. “Hopefully I can win one.”
Now 36 and still in search of his first World Series title, Beltran left the St. Louis Cardinals for a $45 million, three-year deal with the Yankees, his sixth major league team in 17 seasons.
Beltran hit .296 last season with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs, reaching the World Series for the first time. Now he’s on a team that expects to be in the World Series every year.
“Of course we have to win,” the eight-time All-Star outfielder said Monday after his first workout at the team’s minor league complex. “I don’t know how far we will go, but at least we have to do something positive, and better than what they did last year, no doubt about that.”
After missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years, New York embarked on a spending spree of nearly half-a-billion dollars, adding four marquee free agents in Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury.
“They went out and spent a lot money on players to try to improve the ballclub,” Beltran said. “You want to be around an organization like that, where every year they’re trying to improve, they’re trying to get better.”
Second baseman Robinson Cano _ the Yankees’ top hitter– did leave for a $240 million, 10-year deal with Seattle, while Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte both retired.
“I think we have a real good team,” Beltran said. “I believe the lineup that we have, we have a pretty good lineup.”
Beltran joined Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez three days before the first full-squad workout. After batting practice, instead of taking fly balls, Beltran fielded grounders at second with Roberts, signed as Cano’s replacement.
“I’m just trying to get to know the guys,” Beltran said. “I was talking to Roberts a little bit there. He’s a switch-hitter. I’m a switch-hitter. So, we were talking about, maybe, working together a little bit this year.”
Beltran did not get a chance to work out with Jeter, who announced last week that he will retire after the 2014 season. The Yankees captain, who has been practicing at the minor league complex for past four weeks, usually takes a few days off before formal workouts begin.
“For me, he’s been a big part of baseball,” Beltran said. “I feel personally, he got enough of baseball. He’s been doing this so long, and doing it the right way. He’s a pro on, off the field. It’s sad for baseball, you’re going to lose a guy like that, but at the same time there’s a lot of younger guys coming up that, hopefully, they could take his spot.”
“Being able to play with a guy that is a Hall of Famer, first-ballot Hall of Famer, is a great feeling,” Beltran added. “I’m just looking forward to playing with him, looking forward to hopefully have this team win a championship.”
NOTES: Manager Joe Girardi wouldn’t go into detail on any problem the Yankees had with Cano’s lack of hustle at times. Hitting coach Kevin Long was quoted in Monday’s editions of the New York Daily News as saying “If somebody told me I was a dog, I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.” Girardi pulled Cano from a game against Tampa Bay in September 2008 when he was late retrieving Cliff Floyd’s hard grounder that caromed into shallow right field, then benched the second baseman the following night. “I have discussions with all of our players on how we expect them to play the game,” Girardi said. … Girardi also said RHP Michael Pineda, sidelined since shoulder surgery two years ago, looked good in his bullpen session Monday. Pineda is among the candidates for the No. 5 starter. … RHP Yoshinori Tateyama, his arrival delayed by a visa issue, began workouts after missing two days.
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