Delgado -- 38 and coming off two hip surgeries since May 2009 -- said he's been running recently without pain, and the plan is to sign with a Major League team by the end of the month.
Calls have already been made.
"We've contacted a few teams to let them know that I'm working out and I expect to return," Delgado said in Spanish to El Nuevo Dia of his native Puerto Rico. "Pretty much planting the seed."
The power-hitting first baseman, who did the interview on Tuesday in Manhattan while taking part in an honorary luncheon for children, had hip surgery after 26 games with the Mets in 2009, then again in February. But he's been hitting for about six weeks and has been running frequently in hopes of returning for his 18th season.
Asked if he expects to play this year, Delgado replied, "Yes, but I don't want to put a date on it. ... Once I can reach five days in a row doing full workouts, the doctor will feel comfortable in letting me play. The important thing is to not take any steps backwards."
Due to long-term injuries sustained to Kendry Morales and Nick Johnson, respectively, the Angels and Yankees were previously linked to Delgado, who's sitting on 473 career home runs. But Delgado chalked them up as rumors and did not name the teams he has reached out to.
He said he has "no problems" starting off in the Minor Leagues, adding that he "understands the system" and that he'll need extra at-bats before he's big league ready.
As for playing solely in the American League so he can be used as a designated hitter?
"The American League gives you the chance to rest a bit more as a designated hitter," Delgado said in Spanish. "But, as an athlete, I want to play at 100 percent. I don't want to close any doors."
Delgado would like to play this season and all of 2011 before officially hanging it up. And though he told El Nuevo Dia "it'd be nice" to reach the 500-homer plateau, Delgado believes finishing what he started would be even more gratifying.
"After 15 months of rehabilitation, I want to return to play not to prove to anybody that I can play, but to have the satisfaction that after two operations, going to clinics, doing ab workouts and working hard, I can do it again," Delgado said. "I feel like there's still things left for me to accomplish."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less