I feel that the reason our club is having a lot of success so far this season is that we are doing the important things right. We are pitching well, we are playing good defense and offensively we are coming through at the right times. Every time you put those three things together, you are going to win a lot of ballgames, and that is what we are doing.

We got off to a good start this season, but over the past few games, we have battled some things a little bit. Stil, every team goes through those stretches -- stretches that feature some highs and lows. Right now, we are hoping to play a little bit better in the immediate future.

As for me, I have been slowed down lately by a knee injury. I have been taking a day-by-day approach with it, and every day I am making some improvement. It just hasn't made the huge improvements I was hoping for.

Overall, I am not surprised by the play of our team to date. I expected us to have a good start because we are a good club. Look at our lineup and look at the guys on the club. We have a lot of veteran players who have been in this league for 10, 12, 14 years. We also have some guys who average six or seven years in the big leagues. That is a nice blend of experience, and when you add in a couple of the really young guys here, that also makes for a nice mix.

I am happy to be here. I came to a club that just won the World Series and it has just been a great fit for me. This organization was looking for a bat, and I was available. I know that when I am healthy, I can help a team.

Changing teams before has helped with the adjustment. I have been traded now a couple of times, and those transitions are a lot to go through. It does take some time to get to know people well, and since Spring Training, which was a good experience for me, I have gotten a lot more comfortable. I have been excited to bond with these guys and to get on the same page as them. Now, it is about going out there, competing and trying to win ballgames.

I have played for other teams before, and I have experienced a lot of different things in my career. However, one of the things I like about my new team is the tradition that is in place here. This is a winning organization. It seems that the Cardinals are in the playoffs almost every year, and they have won 11 World Series championships.

They traditionally put a great team out there on the field for the fans. The players enjoy that, too, and I am just happy now to be a part of this.

The defending World Series champion Cardinals lead the National League Central, and veteran newcomer Carlos Beltran is playing a significant role. A switch-hitter, Beltran is batting .293, and his 13 home runs and 32 RBIs lead his new club. Beltran joined St. Louis after inking a free-agent deal in the offseason.