Beltran brings hot bat to temporary DH role

Beltran brings hot bat to temporary DH role

OAKLAND -- This extended cameo in the designated-hitter role has agreed with Carlos Beltran's switch-hitting stroke so well, the Yankees may not be in a hurry to have the veteran pick up his glove.

Beltran stroked three doubles and drove in three runs in the Yankees' 8-3 victory over the Athletics on Friday, and while he has made it clear that he would prefer to be helping on defense, Alex Rodriguez's absence from the lineup has provided an opportunity for Beltran to focus on swinging the bat.

"I know people think I'm done in the outfield, but I love being out there," Beltran said. "I feel like I'm more in the game, I'm more active. I take care of my legs. I've got to do my lifting, I've got to do my exercises to make sure my legs are fine. I don't have a problem being in the outfield every day."

As Rodriguez continues to work toward returning from a right hamstring strain that has kept him out of the lineup since May 3, Beltran's wish may soon be granted, though the Yankees have floated the idea of waiting until they return to The Bronx to activate Rodriguez.

That could mean at least another two days of West Coast DH duty for Beltran, who has been productive from both sides of the plate. He is 7-for-19 (.368) on this road trip and has hit .326 (14-for-43) with 13 RBIs over his last 12 games.

Yankees' five-run inning

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Beltran would serve as the DH again on Saturday, which will continue to give Aaron Hicks outfield reps while offering the added bonus of saving Beltran's legs. Yet Girardi stressed that the arrangement is only temporary until Rodriguez returns.

"We're going to put [Beltran] back in right field," Girardi said. "He'll probably DH some, too. I can do that as well. Right now, when Alex comes back, I plan on DHing Alex."

As he continues to adjust to this unfamiliar role of hit-and-sit, Beltran suggested that the inconveniences of the outdated Coliseum actually may have worked in his favor, providing a lesson for what to do -- or not to do -- when the assignment comes up again at Yankee Stadium.

"Sometimes at home, we've got the cage, we've got the machine, we've got a lot of stuff," Beltran said. "Sometimes we get caught up in taking a lot of swings and working on a lot of stuff.

"Here, we don't have a cage; the cage is in center field. So I get caught up with watching the games, watching everyone's at-bats. Sometimes if you do less, it's good for you."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.