Carlos Beltran activated, ready to return to Yankees lineup
"Sometimes I feel a little bit, but swinging wise, I feel good. I took something like 12 or 14 at-bats in extended spring training, and swung from both sides of the plate," he said. "I swung hard and took the same swings I would always take in a game, and I didn't feel anything."
That little bit of pain, he says, is "a little stretch" that comes only during range of motion exercises, and it's because of a bone spur that came loose and became a chip on the inside of his right elbow joint. Beltran knows it's not something he can "fix" if it locks up, thinks he'll likely require treatment on it for the rest of the year, and isn't sure if a third cortisone shot could be in the works if needed, but for now, he hopes it's something he can manage long enough to put off surgery until the off-season.
"When they do the treatments, sometimes I do feel a little stretch there, but no pain; it's nothing compared to how it felt when it happened," he said. "Other than that, I feel fine, but I have an issue there; the bone spur is still there, but we're hoping the pain doesn't come back and I can worry about (getting the chip removed) in the offseason.
When it comes to his swing, Beltran noted that he first felt the problem swinging from the left side - and the right side has been fine all along - but after going through his usual routine in extended spring training, he feels like he is ready to come back at full tilt.
"It's weird. It's just one of those things where something that was there for a long time happened to break," he said. "But in Tampa, I did basically almost the same routine as I would before a normal game; I took 30 swings from each side before batting practice and 20 each again before the game. That's my preparation routine, so it's hard to change, but I did it in Tampa and it didn't bother me."
He doesn't know what could or will happen if he swings and misses hard or has to check a swing, but as his manager noted, it's not exactly a controllable situation.
"Whenever a guy comes off a rehab, he probably hasn't experienced everything he's going to over the next two or three weeks. Sometimes you may not see something for six weeks; it's hard to predict," Joe Girardi said prior to Thursday's game. "I can't tell you what's going to happen tomorrow, the next day, or even in 20 minutes when he goes to the cage, but we wouldn't have brought Carlos back if we thought he was only half the offensive player he can be."
Beltran has not yet thrown and doesn't know when he will return to his usual spot in right field, but for now, he's just happy to be coming back to help a Yankees offense that has struggled of late.
"They don't want me to throw; I'd guess I'll probably get on a throwing program soon, and we'll go from there," he said, "but right now, I'm good swinging, and I want to help the lineup and help us score runs. I know we're going through a tough stretch, but it's a long season, and I feel we're going to hit."
And, he's excited to be back on the eve of the Yankees' lone trip to the city where he spent his first six-and-a-half seasons in the majors.
"I always love going back to Kansas City. This time as a Yankee I don't know how it will be, but when I went there with the Cardinals it was always fun."