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October 12, 2004

Carlos Beltran


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Carlos Beltran.

Q. Would you talk about the potential offensive explosion in this series with these two lineups.

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, it will be interesting series against the Cardinals. We know they have a really good offense, but we really believe in our offense, too. We just need to go out there and play hard, do the best we can, and see what happens.

Q. A bunch of teams called about you at the trading line and the Astros never considered dealing you. How happy are you that that trade or any trade never happened?

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, first of all, when I was traded from Kansas City to Houston, I was very happy that I was going to go to a team that was in contention. When I joined the club, I remember we were playing Texas. It was hard for me to see the way we were playing, we weren't playing good at all, we were like 10 games behind the wildcard. I was a little bit worried for me, you know, being traded again. But when we found a way to turn the season around and we saw ourselves like three games behind the wildcard, I know that I was going to stay with the club and I was very happy. It's been a great experience being around Bagwell, Biggio, Clemens, all these guys. It's really helping me a lot to be a better player.

Q. What was your first impression of Phil Garner when he came aboard, and what does he bring to the team?

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, Phil Garner is a motivator. He's a guy that likes to have fun, first of all. When he joined the club he tells us he doesn't have any rules, "Just go out there, play 100 percent, do the best you can." He lets you go out there and just play the game like the way you're able to play. He told me, "Okay, Carlos, we want you to go out there, do what you are capable of doing, steal bases if you want to, if you get the opportunity to do it." He took pressure off a lot of guys on the team.

Q. How difficult was it sometimes in Kansas City to push yourself to your best when, as a team, there truthfully wasn't a whole lot to play for?

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, I've got to tell you that it was real frustrating for me to finish in last place. It was difficult. But at the same time, as a player, you have to go out there and give everything you can, and I was able to every single day. So I really thank God that I was able to have successful years in Kansas City, even when they didn't finish in first place and didn't make it to the playoffs.

Q. Did they make it clear to you they were not going to trade you before the deadline, or were you worried right up until July 31st?

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, I heard a couple of times Gerry Hunsicker say that he wasn't going to trade me. But you never know. You never know when we're in a situation where I am right now, next year I will be a free agent, and if the team's still playing good, the team will do whatever it can for you. I wasn't worried. Just try to go out there, do the best I can, try to help the team win. That was my main priority.

Q. In the LDS you had a historic performance. How much did you enjoy being in the playoffs for the first time in your career?

CARLOS BELTRAN: All this year for me has been a dream, you know. I just got to tell you, being able to -- first of all, being able to be in my first All-Star Game, being able to make it to the playoffs, being able to perform like the way I am doing right now, I just feel like is a dream. I'm very happy being able to contribute to help the Astros, you know, win day in, day out no matter how, defensively, offensively. I'm very pleased with my performance. I'm very happy.

Q. Clemens and Oswalt will go Game 3 and Game 4. Does the offense feel more of a burden to make something happen early?

CARLOS BELTRAN: I don't think so. I think that, like I said, we're doing a real good job the last series against Atlanta Braves, and we were just going to go out there and continue to play the same way we've been doing - without pressure, having fun, letting things happen. Because we realized at the beginning of the season we were trying too hard, and things weren't going to go our way. We just decided to go out there, have fun, play the game and let things happen. And we were able to turn the season around; we were able to make it to the playoffs. Since that, we don't feel like we have to really go out and make things happen; we have to go out there and give everything we can and just have fun. That's all, man.

Q. Was there a specific turning point that you can pinpoint as far as when the season went from bad to good?

CARLOS BELTRAN: I think after the All-Star break -- before the All-Star break, we were trying too hard, first of all. We were trying to hit home runs in our ballpark. People said they hate this ballpark, so we were trying just to go out there and hit home runs. It didn't work that way. We feel like if we do our part, we feel like we were going to be able to help the team. Like Bagwell, Biggio, Berkman, Kent, they all start hitting the ball good, including myself. We were able to cut that 10-game deficit in the wildcard and make it to three. When we saw ourselves three games behind in the wildcard, we told ourselves, "Man, we really have good chances to win the wildcard." We maintained ourselves, our focus. We were able to do it.

Q. What about hitting second in the batting order is unique?

CARLOS BELTRAN: Well, in Kansas City, this year, Tony Pena, he make me hit second for the first time in all the years I play over there. I like it. I prefer hitting third, but hitting second, it's a good spot for me. I can do my thing, I can bunt the ball when I got guys on second base, I can play my game. Hitting third is more like people expect a lot more for you to hit the ball out of the ballpark, hit home runs. First of all, I don't consider myself a home-run hitter. I just feel comfortable right now hitting second. I think Phil Garner did a great move moving me back to second. First of all, when I joined the club, Williams put me to hit third. When Phil joined the club, he told me, "Carlos, I want you to hit second in the lineup." From that day, I feel comfortable there, too.

Q. You and Albert Pujols are two of the top offensive young players in the game. Are you anxious to measure yourself against him in the series?

CARLOS BELTRAN: I just have to say Pujols is a great guy, a great leader, a great human being. I just have to go out there and do my job, help the team any way I can, with my speed, offensively, defensively. I can't wait. I can't wait till tomorrow, just to go out there and show what I am capable of doing.

End of FastScripts...

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