When Travis Hafner showed up last spring, he joked that he really had no need for a glove. He would go into the field for batting practice, but he knew there was no chance of actually getting on the field in a game. These days, Carlos Beltran has even less need for a glove. He’s not even going onto the field to shag fly balls during batting practice. He hasn’t so much as played catch since those two cortisone shots in his right elbow.
“No, he has not,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t have a date for you on that. We’re trying to see how this goes to start out. At some point, we’ll probably get to the point where we’ll try it, but we have not put a date on that yet.”
Obviously Beltran’s greatest asset is his bat, and the Yankees are prioritizing that as they try to use him to get this offense going. He came off the disabled list on Thursday, just days after Mark Teixeira returned from a setback with his right wrist.
“He’s come in every day and said he felt good,” Girardi said. “That’s the most important thing for me. He’ll start hitting. I know that. That’s not my concern. My concern is how he feels, and he feels good.”
With Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano available to basically platoon in right field, the Yankees don’t absolutely need Beltran in the field, but having him locked into the DH role obviously limits their flexibility a little bit. Kendrys Morales didn’t fit with the Yankees largely because of Beltran being stuck at DH and Teixeira being locked in at first base.
“Those spots, we feel that we’re covered,” Girardi said.
• Double-A Trenton plays at 7:05 p.m. with Shawn Kelley expected to make a rehab appearance. It sounds possible he’ll be activated as early as Monday. “That’s definitely a possibility,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you can just look at, he (hypothetically) faced three hitters and struck two out. You have to look at how the ball was coming out. Was his velocity there? Was his slider sharp? Those sort of things. Sometimes it’s more than just what the numbers say. Does he need another? We’ll probably have a little better idea after today.”
• Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether Kelley would return to the eighth inning role. He basically turns the three-man combination of Betances-Warren-Robertson into a four-man group of late-inning options. Pretty good luxury.
• Random observation: Morales signing with the Twins is kind of a good thing for the Yankees, isn’t it? Better than him landing with one of the A.L. East teams, and there was really no way he was going to stay on the market long enough for the Yankees to have him as a backup plan should Beltran or Teixeira suffer a setback.
• Girardi on the Morales signing: “I think you pay attention to all the moves that happen in baseball. Whether it’s trades this time of year. Guys getting called up. I just noticed it today. It wasn’t something that I had talked about. It beeps on my phone.”
• Brian McCann is on the bench because there’s a left-hander starting for the Royals and because there’s a day game tomorrow. John Ryan Murphy was going to start either today or tomorrow, might as well play him against the lefty.
• Pretty cool that the Yankees drafted Mariano Rivera’s son today. He was their 29th-round pick. “Kind of neat,” Girardi said. “I know he comes from good blood lines. … I asked (Mariano) the other day, got a little scouting report. Mo wasn’t sure, if he got drafted, what he would do. But I think it’s neat that he got drafted by the Yankees and we’ll see what happens.”
Associated Press photos