BOSTON — Matt Carpenter was in the lineup in left field at Fenway Park on Friday night, the fourth spot he has started at in his short Yankees tenure.
Moving around the field is nothing new for him.
“I’ve always been open to playing wherever,’’ Carpenter said before going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in the Yankees’ 12-5 win over the Red Sox. “There was a time [in my career] I moved almost every year.”
Including when he was one of the premier hitters in the National League.
“I was an All-Star at second base in 2013 and they asked me to move to third the very next year,” Carpenter said. “So I moved to third then to first.”
Each time, Carpenter said, he just rolled with the change.
“I just want to play,’’ Carpenter said. “I don’t care where. I have zero regrets. People sometimes tell me I should have stayed at one position. But all the reasons were good and made the team better. If the lineup is better with me somewhere else in the field, that’s fine with me.”
It began in 2012, when the Cardinals, Carpenter said, had a veteran team and needed someone to fill in at different positions.
“I’d been an infielder all my life,” Carpenter said. “And in 2012, it was the exact scenario as this one. I was pretty much a rookie and we had a really established team with good players that needed some days off. That opened some opportunities because I was swinging the bat well. It was the same team dynamic as here.”
Though Carpenter said the idea of him playing the outfield for the first time in nearly a decade wasn’t brought up to him before he signed with the Yankees after he requested his release from the Rangers — where he had been playing at Triple-A Round Rock — Carpenter didn’t flinch when the possibility came up after he had arrived in The Bronx in May.
Since joining the Yankees, he has been at first, third, left field and right, as well as DH.
And in 14 starts, he has hit all eight of his homers and has an OPS of 1.184.
His mentality in the outfield is simple: “Just be serviceable and have good at-bats. That’s the main reason I’m here. Make the plays you can make and just be prepared.”
So far, it’s worked out.
“Every day that passes and I get more reps, I feel more comfortable,” Carpenter said. “I’m not in line for a Gold Glove here.”
And he believes the Yankees’ goal by the end of the game is just as basic: “Try to get him three or four at-bats and hope he drives in more than he gives up.”
But he added it was not a move he or the Yankees made rashly.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of weeks,” Carpenter said. “It’s not like they just threw this together.”
After the initial conversation, Carpenter began doing work in the outfield at various parks, knowing he might be there at some point.
Through it all, the lefty-swinging Carpenter has continued to hit, which is why he remained confident he would get at-bats at some point.
“Any team I’ve played on, at every level, they want good bats in the lineup,” Carpenter said. “We certainly have a ton of them on this club and we have great players at a lot of different positions, so there’s not a ton of spots to play.”