The sec­ond half of the Major League Base­ball sea­son began Thurs­day night, and many in Puer­to Rico are with a lot of high expectations.

Just as a start, every­body is hap­py that Car­los Bel­trán returned with the New York Mets, and Joel Piñeiro won his sev­enth straight deci­sion as the Los Ange­les Angels defeat­ed the Seat­tle Mariners.

How­ev­er, not every base­ball fan is cheery and fes­tive these days.

Car­los Del­ga­do announced Thurs­day that he will not be able to par­tic­i­pate with the Puer­to Rico nation­al base­ball team in the upcom­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez because of a rec­om­men­da­tion from his doctor.

Del­ga­do, who had shown inter­est in play­ing for the nation­al team at Mayagüez 2010, is still recov­er­ing from surgery on his right hip.

Del­ga­do, the all-time leader among Puer­to Rican play­ers in the majors with 473 home runs and 1,512 runs bat­ted in, was on the nation­al team’s pro­vi­sion­al ros­ter for sev­er­al weeks but said his final deci­sion would depend on his phys­i­cal condition.

It is true that the two-time All-Star and three-time Sil­ver Slug­ger Award win­ner had not played in a Major League game since May 10, 2009, but he lost a gold­en opportunity.

The games would have been his show­case to show that he is still func­tion­al and could still play at a com­pet­i­tive level.

Absolute­ly the 37-year-old first base­man would have to be care­ful, nev­er­the­less Team Puer­to Rico would have ben­e­fit­ed from his presence.

Let not for­get Del­ga­do, even though elbow ten­dini­tis lim­it­ed him to just one plate appear­ance in the inau­gur­al 2006 World Base­ball Classic.

Del­ga­do not only did spin doubts on his pos­si­ble return to the majors, but also a sour spin on what could have been a boon for Puer­to Rican nation­al pride.

Team Puer­to Rico is the favorite team to win the gold medal in his own back­yard in this region­al games.

Last time Team Puer­to Rico won gold was in the El Sal­vador Games in 2002 and was its last medal in the Cen­tral Amer­i­can and Caribbean games base­ball dia­mond, only their sec­ond gold in the his­to­ry of these games. First one was way back in 1959 in Venezuela.

Fur­ther­more, last time the games were cel­e­brat­ed in the U.S. Com­mon­wealth Island, Ponce 93’, Team Puer­to Rico was short­hand­ed with a bronze medal.

Man­ag­er Eduar­do Pérez, for­mer Major Lea­guer and son of Hall of Famer Tony Pérez, found a replace­ment for Del­ga­do in the line­up with pow­er hit­ter Joy­set Feli­ciano, one of the top hit­ters in island Double‑A base­ball. (A semi-pro league with good local talent.)

True, any play­er in giv­en time is replace­able. How­ev­er, Del­ga­do is con­sid­ered one of Puer­to Rico’s top sports heroes and should have shown his coun­try pas­sion as in past World Base­ball Clas­sic, and show he was ready to play ball again.

It was his moment to demon­strate to any team that no mat­ter how he had been more than a year away he could be back to the Major Leagues.

It could pos­si­bly have shown as it has been a rumor for a long time regard­ing his return to his beloved New York Mets.

Fel­low Puer­to Rican Car­los Bel­trán is back.

Is the oth­er Car­los ready?

Time will tell.