Special to Newsday
TAMPA, Fla. — Carlos Beltran was an early arrival at Yankees spring training on Monday, getting in a workout with a few teammates at the team’s minor-league complex in advance of Wednesday’s full-scale arrival of position players at Steinbrenner Field.
“It feels good — we just went out there and did a little stretching, a little hitting, a little work in the outfield. Everything’s going well,” said the 38-year-old outfielder, eager to begin his third season with the Yankees and his 19th season in the majors. “Physically I feel healthy, and just looking forward, I just want to be healthy and help the ballclub as much as I can. Hopefully, we can make it farther in the playoffs.’’
Beltran was one of several position players working out, joining infielders Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Dustin Ackley and outfielder Aaron Hicks. The rest of them will report tomorrow, with the first full-squad workout Thursday morning.
Beltran, who will turn 39 in April, said he’s hoping for more consistency. He hit .162 in April last year before finishing strong, with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in the final two months. Overall, he hit .276, a big improvement on his .233 average in his first season with the Yankees. He needs eight home runs to reach 400.
Beltran has played 2,306 games with six teams but still is seeking a World Series ring — the closest he’s come was when his Cardinals lost to the Red Sox in 2013 — so if there’s an urgency to this season, it’s in wanting to extend his season beyond 162 games.
“This is my last year in New York, last year of my contract,” Beltran said. “I feel like I have accomplished a lot of good things in baseball. The last thing I’m missing is a World Series. I want to be there, and hopefully with the guys we’ve added to the ballclub . . . I think this year we’ll be a better ballclub than last year.”
Beltran said he takes pride in mentoring the younger players. He requested that outfield prospect Aaron Judge have the locker near him to give him more time to talk with Judge during spring training.
“He’s a guy who’s the future of this organization, and I feel like I can help him,” Beltran said. “When I was growing up in the big leagues, I had some veteran guys who took care of me, helped me along the way. The game of baseball isn’t about what you can do for yourself. It’s about trying to impact younger guys. I take pride in that and I want to help him as much as I can.”