Yankees taking caution with red-hot Beltran

Veteran hits 18th HR as knee responds well to treatment

Yankees taking caution with red-hot Beltran

MINNEAPOLIS -- Carlos Beltran joked that he felt like he had gone back to high school after the Yankees had him play a couple of seven-inning games during their series against the Twins at Target Field.

The Yankees are exercising caution with Beltran's left knee, which required draining and a cortisone injection earlier in the week. Judging by his recent performance, it would take a lot more to cool off Beltran's red-hot bat.

"Honestly, all I'm trying to do is just be consistent and put up good at-bats," said Beltran, who hit his 18th home run in the Yankees' 7-6 victory on Saturday. "Right now it seems like I'm getting good results. When you play 162 games, you've got to be aware that you're going to have good times, you're going to have not such good times in the game of baseball.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Beltran and other #ASGWorthy players

"You have to grind and you have to make sure you don't give away at-bats. Basically, that's the whole mentality right now. I'm trying not to give away at-bats, stay in the middle of the field, try to simplify my thoughts. I'm getting good results, so I'm just happy to be able to contribute in a positive way."

Beltran had three at-bats in Thursday's series opener before being replaced defensively by Aaron Hicks in the seventh inning. Beltran hit a two-run homer in the first inning on Friday and banged out two more hits before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the sixth.

"He's been doing this for a long time now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's a professional hitter, and he understands what he needs to do. He's been really big for our offense this year."

On Saturday, Beltran celebrated his second straight game with three hits and leads the Yankees with 48 RBIs.

"It dates back to really August and September of last year," Alex Rodriguez said. "He came in in great shape to Spring Training, and he's been a one-man wrecking crew. It's been really fun to watch. Hitting behind him, it feels really good, that 3-4 combination."

Worth noting

• Left-hander Chasen Shreve struck out all three batters he faced in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 7-1 loss to Gwinnett on Friday. It marked Shreve's second Minor League rehab outing as he returns from a left AC joint sprain. Girardi said the Yankees will wait to see how Shreve bounces back before considering his reinstatement.

• First baseman Mark Teixeira continues to be on track to play in a Minor League game on Tuesday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Teixeira ran the bases at Target Field on Saturday as he attempts to come back from an articular cartilage tear in his right knee.

Teixeira runs, hits pregame

"Every test, he has passed so far," Girardi said. "We're looking at a couple more days' work and then sending him out."

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.