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Carlos Beltran is big hit everywhere he goes

Carlos Beltran of the Yankees connects on a

Carlos Beltran of the Yankees connects on a third-inning base hit against the Chicago Cubs during the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Never mind who's on first. What about who's hitting second? Or third? And does it matter?

Carlos Beltran is in his 18th major league season. The Yankees are his sixth team. He has been around the bases, so to speak. An outfielder by trade, he was forced to fill in at first base earlier this week because of injuries. But, a career .283 hitter, he keeps hitting.

His home run in Wednesday's first game of a day-night doubleheader, against the Chicago Cubs, was his 362nd, moving him past Joe DiMaggio on baseball's career list.

He went 1-for-3 in that game, hitting second, playing rightfield (and bouncing off the wall along the rightfield line chasing a foul ball). Yankees manager Joe Girardi moved him down to third in the second game, as the designated hitter. Beltran delivered a double and single in four at-bats. His average rose to .327.

"This is a team, really, I feel can do anything," Girardi said. "Where they're playing, or where they're hitting in the lineup, doesn't seem to bother them. They just want to play, and contribute. Sometimes you have some injuries and you have to adapt a little bit about where people play, and they've been very willing to do anything."

Beltran, especially. Does it really feel different to be moved through the lineup?

"Not really," he said. "As a hitter, you would love to be in one spot all the time, but the same time, last year, in St. Louis, I was second, third, fourth, fifth. I hit all over the place. It takes a little while to get used to it, but I try not to think about it.

"I try not to get caught up in that, try just to prepare myself and have a good game plan against the pitch that night and just do my job."

But he did admit that "we're creatures of habit, you know. We want to go to the ballpark and do the same thing over and over and over. And sometimes, when you move around the lineup, it gets you thinking a little bit. Like, 'Today, I'm hitting second, I might see more fastballs or hitting fourth I might see more breaking pitches.' Like that.

"Once you hit in one spot all year long, it's kind of better. But here, I know that Joe is gonna do what is good for the team, so I've just got to be prepared."

A switch hitter, Beltran's lefthanded at-bats are tailored to Yankee Stadium's short rightfield porch -- that's where he put his homer in Wednesday's first game. "It's there," he said. "But I didn't make my decision" to sign with the Yankees based on the porch. I made my decision based on the opportunity to win championships.

"So I don't think about it. I just want to have good at-bats. If it happens to go that way, and leave the ballpark, thank God for that. But I have to stick to my approach and just hit the ball hard."

Chicago's Jason Hammel, victim of Beltran's latest homer, said, "He's been a tough out for me my whole career. That was a hanging changeup I threw him. It's one of the few mistakes I made and he knows what to do with those. He's been a good hitter for a long time."

No matter where he's hiding in the lineup.

New York Sports