NEW YORK -- It may be splitting hairs, so to speak, but Carlos Beltran's cranky right elbow, which is said to have an old bone spur in it causing him pain when he swings, also has a slight crack. According to Joe Girardi, it technically is not a bone chip, as has been reported by some outlets, because it is not floating within Beltran's elbow, although the manager said it was possible that at some point the chip could break free.
"Potentially it could be a problem, but right now it's really not anything more than we already knew,'' Girardi told me while Beltran took batting practice on the field before today's game against the Twins. Beltran has been on the DL since May 13, and is eligible to be reinstated. Beltran was not available to reporters after batting practice but appeared once again to swing pain-free. On Friday, Beltran declared himself "happy'' with how his elbow has responded to two cortisone shots and seemed optimistic he would be able to return to the lineup soon.
Tex out until Tuesday -- at least: Mark Teixeira, who left Saturday's game with continuing soreness in his surgically-repaired right wrist, is of course not in the lineup Sunday, nor will he be on Monday, when the Yankees play a makeup game against the Seattle Mariners and their ace righthander, Felix Hernandez. Girardi said it was possible Teixeira would play on Tuesday against the Oakland A's and lefty Scott Kazmir since Tex's wrist seems to trouble him less when batting right-handed.
"You’re hoping that it’s a couple of days and he’s able to get back out there,'' Girardi said. "I thought it was cleared up, but inflammation is a funny thing. It can be one swing. It can be the culmination of a number of swings. The doctor was pretty reassuring that they don’t think it’s serious, but inflammation can be a pain in the rear. Or the wrist.''
Girardi also clarified a comment made by Teixeira on Saturday that he would be "worried'' if a cortisone shot administered last week did not provide relief, raising speculation that more surgery might be in his future.
"I think that means you’re probably looking at more than a couple of days or three days' rest,'' Girardi said. "From a standpoint, the sheath is repaired, so it’s not like you go in there and do something. It would just be more rest.''
In the meantime, the Yankees are playing essentially with a 24-man roster, and in Teixeira's absence, Kelly Johnson appears likely to get most of the playing time at first base, although Girardi did not rule out the possibility of Brian McCann, who started once game at first base last week against the Cardinals in St. Louis, getting another shot there if Teixeira's absence is longer than expected, or if he winds up on the DL.
"I have a number of guys who are candidates, it’s just a matter of who I decide to put there,'' Girardi said. "As I’ve said all along, I think Kelly’s capable of handling it.''
Cervelli making progress: Forgotten man Francisco Cervelli, who had an excellent spring only to be felled by a Grade 2 hamstring strain just two weeks into the season, is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on June 14. Girardi said Cervelli has been running bases, taking BP and catching bullpens but has yet to play in a rehab game.
But considering how well John Ryan Murphy has performed as the backup catcher in Cervelli's absence, Girardi could not guarantee that Cervelli's old job would be waiting for him upon his return.
"Obviously Cervy was playing extremely well too, and we’ll figure out what we’re going to do in that situation, how we’re going to use the guys and go from there,'' Girardi said. "Hopefully the decision isn’t easy for me. That’s always the worst part of it but Cervy was playing extremely well and gives us a lot of flexibility. I plan on him being back here."