TORONTO -- Good news and bad news out of the pregame session tonight. CC Sabathia threw 35 pitches in a simulated game in Tampa this afternoon, and declared it a success. He will do it again on Saturday.
But Carlos Beltran, who the Yankees had hoped would be able to return to playing the outfield after missing three weeks with a bone spur in his right elbow, felt some tightness in his right forearm during a throwing drill over the weekend and will be limited to DH duty for the foreseeable future.
First the good news: Joe Girardi said Sabathia's workout went so well -- it was termed a sim game because he sat between innings to simulate the breaks in a real game -- that he will throw in a "real" game, a longer one (45 pitches) on Saturday for the Class-A Tampa Yankees.
More encouraging, the game will begin the 30-day countdown clock, which in theory means Sabathia could rejoin the Yankees by the last week of July.
"It’s getting closer," Girardi said. "You’re not sure how many starts he needs to get built up, but once you start to get to that point, you could say four or five [minor-league] starts, and he could be a possibility for us."
But Girardi seemed to hint that it would take the entire 30 days for Sabathia to get ready. Asked if it was possible that CC could return by the All-Star break, Girardi said, "I wouldn’t count on it, but who knows? Sometimes need has something to do with it."
Beltran, on the other hand, will continue to play -- he is in Tuesday's lineup against the Blue Jays, but it does not appear he will be in the outfield anytime soon.
Beltran said he felt the tightness in his elbow after a throwing session Sunday at Yankee Stadium, and while it is in a different spot than the bone spur that set him down for half of May and the first week of June, Beltran said he is sure the two injuries are related.
"I think it has to be compensation for something that I’m doing," Beltran said. "I was letting it go, and I was feeling pretty good. I was happy. And then I left the ballpark that day, the next day I got to the ballpark, the forearm was real tight, like a knot there."
Beltran said the pain does not affect his swing and will not keep him out of the lineup. Girardi agreed, but admitted that Beltran's inability to play the field has hamstrung his ability to rotate his DH spot, which he likes to do to give some of his aging regulars a partial day off.