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Tired of watching, Delgado wants a ring

08.08.10 at 12:50 pm ET
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Newly signed first baseman Carlos Delgado wrapped up his first workout as a member of the Red Sox organization Sunday. After stretching out along the third baseline, Delgado and Red Sox first base prospect Lars Anderson took ground balls at first base. Delgado then fielded some more ground balls from his knees, followed by questions from onlooking reporters.

Coming off two hip surgeries, the 38-year-old Delgado signed a minor league deal on Saturday and will eventually join a Red Sox team that has been bitten quite badly by the injury bug. Anticipated to split time with Mike Lowell at first base, Delgado stressed that he himself feels healthy enough to make a difference down the stretch.

“I’m not going to come here to embarrass myself,” Delgado said. “I wasn’t going to call anybody and say I’m ready to work out if I couldn’t run, if I couldn’t run the bases, if I couldn’t change directions.”

The veteran slugger garnered interest from the White Sox, Rockies, and Mariners, but ultimately said the Red Sox were his choice based on their playoff potential. Just 27 homers short of joining the 500 home-run club, Delgado noted that his decision to sign was based on the team’s regular-season record, and not his own records.

“I like to win. In the process, if I hit the home runs that I need, it will be great. I’ve played for almost 16 years in the big leagues and I’ve only been to playoffs one time, so you’re sitting at home and you watch these guys play in October and you see that intensity and the passion they have, and that’s where you want to be,” Delgado said. That’s the reason why I get motivated to do what I do to come back and play.”

Getting only one at-bat in Toronto’s 1993 World Series season and not having as much as a sniff of the playoffs since, Delgado, despite rewriting the Blue Jays’ record book and hitting less than 30 homers just once from 1997-2008 (he had 24 in 2007), seems to be far from concerned with personal achievement. The drive to win that he has built up over years of watching the teams in his division go on to win the World Series (it’s happened six times) is quite apparent. Now he wants his turn.

“That’s the only [reason] you should play — to win,” Delgado said. “Not everybody can win, but I’ll die trying.”

Delgado is no stranger to the AL East, as he established himself as one of the top left-handed hitters of his generation as a member of the Blue Jays. Though baseball in Toronto wasn’t awfully competitive in his time there, he still got a sense of just how intense the baseball atmosphere in Boston.

“They were tough. They were always tough, they were always cocky, very passionate, very driven to win,” Delgado said of the Red Sox as he recalled the 90′s all the way through 2004. “I played against them for 11 years in a row when I was in Toronto, and they seemed to always kick their [expletive deleted]. You’ve got to respect that. … They always find a way to put a good product on the field.”

Delgado hasn’t spoken to any current Red Sox players, but assured those on hand Sunday that although he is more reserved than Boston sluggers past, he will be a big part of the team on and off the field.

“I’m like a chameleon. I’ll blend,” Delgado said. “I’m probably not the rah-rah-rah kind of guy, but I’ve been around long enough and I’m confident enough that I can fit into any clubhouse.”

In his career, Delgado has hit .280/.383/.546 with 473 homers and 1512 runs batted in in parts of 17 seasons with the Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets. He played in just 26 games last season, his last in New York.

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