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01/08/10 1:41 AM EST

Delgado smacks first homer since return

Free agent playing winter ball to prove injury is behind him

Free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado hit his first home run for the Carolina Giants in the Puerto Rican Winter League on Thursday to help the team advance to the postseason.

Delgado connected in the eighth inning off reliever Todd Moser to lead Carolina to a 4-1 win over the Ponce Lions.

Delgado began playing in the league on Sunday to prove to Major League teams that he's healthy after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum and remove a bone spur from his right hip in May.

The Mets have apparently taken notice as Newsday reported Monday that the team is "very interested" in re-signing Delgado and prefers to sign the veteran slugger to an incentive-laden deal.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya even talked about Deglado at Jason Bay's introductory press conference on Tuesday, saying the club remains interested in bringing back the 37-year-old to New York.

"We are going to look at Delgado," Minaya said during the Bay news conference, "but I feel very comfortable if we have to go with Daniel Murphy also."

Minaya, however, wouldn't say if he would travel to Puerto Rico to see Delgado in person, although AOL Fanhouse reported earlier in the week that Mets were expected to scout him this weekend.

Delgado went 3-for-8 in his first two games on Sunday and Monday before homering on Thursday as the team's DH and cleanup hitter.

If Delgado proves healthy, he could be a big addition to any team looking for a first baseman or designated hitter, as he batted .271 with 38 home runs and 115 RBIs in his last full season in 2008.

In 17 Major League seasons, Delgado is a career .280 hitter with 473 home runs and 1,512 RBIs in 2,035 games with the Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.