Veteran Outfielder Hits Left-Handed In Extended Spring Game Down In Florida

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was probably the best 0-for-3 in Carlos Beltran’s career.

The veteran outfielder grounded out three times in an extended spring training game against the Phillies on Monday, but reported no issues with his injured right elbow, leaving him on track to rejoin the Yankees later this week, perhaps in Kansas City on Friday.

“We’ll try to get him 12 at-bats over the next three days,” general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday of the plan for Beltran in Florida.

Out since May 12 with a bone spur on his right elbow, the 37-year-old outfielder has been taking every precaution imaginable to avoid having surgery. He received a cortisone injection and then got a second opinion on the elbow from Dr. James Andrews. Though Beltran was told he could play through the pain, the Yankees have said  if the pain becomes too much he will have the surgery to shave the spur and miss up to three months.

But so far, so good. Beltran reported no pain during two swinging sessions last week and had no issues on Monday, though he did only bat left-handed.

The Yankees, who are 29-26 and 3 1/2 games out of first in the AL East, desperately need Beltran, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract during the offseason, in the lineup. They are tied for 10th in the AL in runs scored and have a collective average of .256.

Beltran’s absence, coupled with the ongoing wrist injury impacting first baseman Mark Teixeira, have the Yankees reportedly considering signing free agent slugger Kendry Morales.

After missing three games last week, Teixeira returned against the Minnesota Twins on Friday but was forced to leave Saturday’s game and sat out Sunday to soreness in his surgically repaired right wrist.

Teixeira was not in the lineup Monday as the Yankees took on the Seattle Mariners in a makeup game.

A career .282 hitter with 363 home runs and 1,342 RBI during his 17-year career, Beltran was hitting just .234 with 5 homers and 15 RBI at the time of his injury.

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