KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although Carlos Beltran went 0-for-7 in his first two games back from the DL, Joe Girardi insists he is not worried about the 37-year-old switch-hitter.
"So far, so good. He has come in every day and said he's felt good and that's the most important thing to me," Girardi said prior to the Yanks' Saturday night game in Kansas City. "He'll start hitting. I know that, so that's not my concern. My concern is how he feels, and he feels good."
New York Yankees
The Yanks' struggling offense is sorely in need of the sort of big boost a healthy Beltran could deliver. Beltran, who signed a free agent contract a few days before last Christmas, went on the DL with inflammation in the right elbow and figures to have surgery in the offseason. But he struggled in his first two games back, going 0-for-3 on Thursday in a win over Oakland and failing to get the ball out of the infield in an 0-for-4 night while the Yanks bested KC 4-2 on Friday. He was reinstated from the DL on Thursday and is slated only to DH for the time being.
While he bats from both sides of the plate, Beltran throws only with his right arm.
Before he can even think about playing the outfield, he'll have to start throwing. And as of Saturday, when that might happen is anyone's guess.
"I don't have a date for you on that," Girardi said. "We'll try to see how this goes, to start out. And then at some point we'll probably get to where we'll try it. But we have not put a date on that yet."
It's a step that'll be taken only with great care.
"You kind of have to have everybody on the board where the doctor says, 'OK, let's give it a shot,' the trainer believes it's the right time," Girardi said. "Obviously, you have to have the player feel comfortable doing it. It's not something we would just ask Carlos, 'Carlos, let's try to go out and throw.' We'll talk about it, see what the doctors say and see how they feel."
KELLY CLOSER: Middle reliever Shawn Kelly was due for a rehab appearance at Double-A Trenton on Saturday, hoping his ailing back will give him no trouble. He was placed on the 15-day DL on May 13 with a strained lumbar spine. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Yanks as early as Monday, in time for the finale of their four-game set against the Royals.
"That's definitely a possibility," Girardi said. "I don't think you can always look at 'He faced three hitters and struck two out.' I think you have to look at how the ball was coming out, was the velocity there, was the slider sharp -- those sort of things. Sometimes it's more than just what the numbers say. Does he need another (rehab appearance)? We'll probably have another idea after today."
When Kelly does get back, he may or not return right back to his usual eighth-inning role.
"We'll have to see," Girardi said.