Beltran 'happy that I'm alive' after outfield collision

Updated: August 14, 2005, 6:33 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Carlos Beltran returned to the Mets clubhouse Sunday for the first time since his frightening head-to-head collision with teammate Mike Cameron. He will see a doctor on Monday in New York to find out when he can play again.

"I just feel happy that I'm alive and that I'm going to be back on the field," Beltran said in the visiting dugout at Dodger Stadium about 90 minutes before the game.

Beltran and Cameron were running full speed toward David Ross' looping fly to short right-center during Thursday's 2-1 loss at San Diego, and their heads hit as they left their feet to catch the ball.

"I have a little fracture and it moved about six millimeters," Beltran said, pointing to his left sideburn. "They want to see if it moved more, or went back in place. And if it did, they won't have to do surgery. I don't want to go through surgery.

"The doctor told me this is something that if I needed surgery, it should be done in a seven-day period. If you let it go and you want to have surgery later on, it can be a major surgery."

Cameron sustained a concussion, a broken nose and two fractured cheekbones, forcing the two-time Gold Glove winner to undergo surgery on Friday night. Beltran came out of it with a fracture in his left cheekbone, a concussion and soreness in his left biceps.

"I didn't have a lot of range of motion, but today I feel like I can extend my arm good," Beltran said. "It's sore, but there's no pain."

Beltran stayed in San Diego an extra day after the incident while the team traveled by bus to Los Angeles. He and trainer Ray Ramirez rejoined them at the hotel on Friday night, but Beltran remained there on Saturday while the Mets beat the Dodgers 5-1.

"I saw the game yesterday on TV and I was very happy that we won," he said. "I really wanted to be here, but Ray wanted me to stay at the hotel and rest. He didn't want me to come here today until after the game, but I wanted to be here and be around the guys and see the game."

Beltran's concussion made it difficult to put all the pieces together for him.

"The only thing I remember was going for the ball," Beltran said. "After that, I don't remember what happened that day -- and to be honest, I don't want to remember. I just want to get back to New York and move forward.

"Mentally, I feel good -- I remember all you guys," he added with a grin. "Mike [assistant trainer Mike Herbst] told me that I was able to walk off the field after the game, take a shower, get dressed and talk to you guys. But I don't remember talking to you guys. What I said, I don't know -- but I hope it was something good."

Beltran, who signed a seven-year, $119 million contract as a free agent last January, wasn't squeamish about watching the collision on the cable highlight shows.

"I saw it like 25 times. They were showing it every five minutes," he said. "It didn't scare me, but it was ugly."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press