NEW YORK -- As Greg Bird moves closer to returning from the disabled list, Chris Carter is reminding the Yankees why they jumped at the opportunity to add him to the 25-man roster this spring.
Carter homered for the second straight night in the Yanks' 8-0 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday, driving in four runs and narrowly missing another homer that was ruled to have been caught by right fielder Mookie Betts at the top of the wall.
"There's been a lot of ups and downs, but I'm just trying to be consistent and put the ball on the bat and hit more barrels," Carter said. "Anything can happen. You never know with this game, it's a long season. I'm just trying to keep it simple and not do too much."
After leading the National League with 41 homers last year for the Brewers, Carter saw his market shrink as teams reconsidered how they value one-dimensional sluggers, eventually settling in February for the Yankees' one-year, $3.5 million offer.
Out since May 2 with a right ankle bone bruise, Bird will join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday at Lehigh Valley and could reclaim first base within the next week or so. Carter said he can't control that, but now batting .202/.292/.395 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 43 games, he still hopes to give the Yanks a positive return on their investment.
"I think we knew he was capable of hitting. We knew it," manager Joe Girardi said. "We just felt like he had to make some minor adjustments. He's been working really hard at it. I think today you saw him in his legs a little bit more. I think it makes a big difference. It gives him more of a chance. It'd be great to get that bat going, because that's a big bat."
Carter bolstered the bottom of the lineup with his three hits. He singled in the third inning, mistakenly advancing to second base even though Chase Headley had halted there. The play worked out in the Yanks' favor as third baseman Deven Marrero threw wildly for an error.
"When I hit it, I was thinking two out of the box," Carter said. "When I looked up, I saw [left fielder Chris Young] throw it to third. I was going to second, looked up and [Headley] was at second. I got to second anyway, so it worked out."
In the fourth, Carter delivered the big blow off reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, barreling a 91-mph fastball for a three-run shot to left field.
"Obviously, Carter with the big three-run homer was huge," winning pitcher Carsten Sabathia said. "Our lineup is so deep. There's a lot of opportunities for guys on base. Hopefully, we can just keep that up."
Carter very nearly had another homer in the sixth, as a fan in right field made contact with the ball before it was secured by Betts. Girardi attempted to get the umpires to review it, but he was told that he had not raised his hand in the necessary time.
"I didn't know that the fan touched it. I thought [Betts] caught it," Carter said. "I didn't know that until I went back in and saw the replay."
Carter tacked on another RBI with a single in the eighth off Blaine Boyer, another barreled ball that had an exit velocity of 105.1 mph.
"It definitely feels good to contribute to a win like this and get some big hits for us," Carter said.