43° Good Afternoon
43° Good Afternoon

Carlos Beltran swinging a hot bat

New York Yankees rightfielder Carlos Beltran reacts after

New York Yankees rightfielder Carlos Beltran reacts after his home run as Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann stands and looks on during the third inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 20, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Carlos Beltran watched Old-Timers' Day unfold at Yankee Stadium from the televisions in the clubhouse Saturday, remaining uninvolved in the festivities until Bernie Williams asked to borrow his bat.

Williams eventually decided to use Garrett Jones' bat instead. "He needed a 34½," Beltran said. "I use a 34."

Williams probably should have stuck with the 34.

Beltran blasted two solo home runs Saturday night in the Yankees' 14-3 rout of the Tigers, one from each side of the plate.

Batting lefthanded in the third inning, Beltran stroked a 3-and-1 fastball from Alfredo Simon over the wall in right-centerfield. Batting righthanded in the fourth, he hit an opposite-field homer, sending Ian Krol's changeup into the rightfield stands.

After the game, the 38-year-old rightfielder put it as simply as he could: "I feel good."

Despite the ups and downs his 2015 season has taken, it's a mantra he's been singing all season long.

Beltran had to field questions about his ability in April after posting a .162/.216/.265 slash line with no homers during the month. In May, he silenced his critics with a .298 batting average, four homers and 14 RBIs. After a mediocre start to June, Beltran has a .417 average, three homers, six RBIs and four walks in the last four games.

With Saturday night's 2-for-3, three-RBI performance, he raised his average (.252), on-base percentage (.300) and slugging percentage (.429) to season highs.

"It's great to see him contribute," manager Joe Girardi said. "You think about what he's done the last three or four days, the big hits that he's had. He's been a big part of our offense."

The key, Beltran said, has been settling into midseason form.

"Being able to get to 200 at-bats, right now, everyone feels like we have enough at-bats to build on," Beltran said. "Every time you see more pitches, you play more games, of course it's going to get to the point where you start feeling better at the plate."

In a season as long as baseball's, any small sample size must be taken with a grain of salt. For Beltran, it's been a matter of keeping his approach steady and not being fazed by any one stretch. The results, he said, will follow.

"That," Beltran said, "is part of playing 162 games."


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