Beltran excited about return to New York

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.