The Yankees sent Beltran to High-A Tampa Sunday night, and he is expected to play the next three days for the Tampa Yankees. Beltran had another set-back-free day of batting practice on Sunday, and the Yankees elected to get him some at-bats in the Minors before he rejoins the big-league club. The goal is for him to be in the Bronx in time for Thursday’s game against Oakland. After that, the Yankees will head to Kansas City to open a weekend series with the Royals.
The minor league stint will allow Beltran to have a some low-stress at-bats, before making his return to the Yankees, barring any setbacks. “You get more at-bats at a quicker pace,” Joe Girardi said. “I would hope that we would see him fairly soon here.”
Beltran, who has not played since May 12th due to a bone spur in his right elbow, has received two cortisone shots and this will be his last-ditch effort to avoid surgery. The Yankees lineup that has been a huge disappointment due to injuries and ineffectiveness, and they can ill-afford to lose Beltran for a large chunk of the season.
Once he returns, Beltran figures to move back into the third spot in the order, with Jacoby Ellsbury retaking the leadoff role, one that he is much more comfortable in. This will mean Brett Gardner likely moves to the bottom half of the order, greatly deepening the Yankees lineup. Beltran’s return will mean less playing time for Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro will once again be the fourth outfielder, and Soriano will get most of his at-bats as a DH. Look for Zoilo Almonte to head back to Triple-A.