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Back in left 17 years later, Beltran tested early

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- For a guy who hadn't played left field in a game in 17 years, Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran didn't have to wait long to be tested at the position during Wednesday's 9-5 win over the Marlins at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Beltran made his first start in left field and had two balls hit his way in the first inning. Dee Gordon led off the game with a double over his head, and two batters later, Christian Yelich hit a fly ball that Beltran ran down as he crossed the foul line and caught as he bounced off the wall.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- For a guy who hadn't played left field in a game in 17 years, Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran didn't have to wait long to be tested at the position during Wednesday's 9-5 win over the Marlins at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Beltran made his first start in left field and had two balls hit his way in the first inning. Dee Gordon led off the game with a double over his head, and two batters later, Christian Yelich hit a fly ball that Beltran ran down as he crossed the foul line and caught as he bounced off the wall.

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Video: MIA@HOU: Gordon doubles over Beltran's head in 1st

"It's going to be fine," Beltran said. "I played center field a long time, so I believe that if you play center field where you have to cover a little bit of right field, little bit of left field, you get used to angles. Doing the transition moving to right [in 2011], I felt like it was an easy transition. This one, I'm not really thinking about anything when I'm out there. I'm trying to position myself and make sure I know everywhere [center fielder George] Springer is playing and make sure we're positioned right. After that, just go get the baseball."

Video: MIA@HOU: Springer on Beltran, Bregman, Reddick

Beltran will get most of his at-bats at designated hitter this season, but he will play left field occasionally to free up the DH spot for some other bats. He hasn't played left field in a regular-season game since he was with the Royals in 2000.

"Honestly, I'm not seeing it like I'm doing something I've never done," Beltran said. "I play in the outfield. You have to do whatever you can to give the manager the flexibility to do the lineup, and there are going to be days I might be in left field, might be days he might DH [Josh] Reddick and I might be in right field. As long as I'm willing -- and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help this team win -- I'm not worried about that."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Carlos Beltran