It's been a few months since Carlos Beltran put on a glove and played right field for the Yankees this season, and it doesn't seem like a return to the outfield is coming anytime soon.
Just ahead of the 4 p.m. buzzer on Thursday's trading deadline, the Yankees acquired the very versatile Martin Prado, who can play around the infield as well as in the outfield, where both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have said the 30-year-old will mostly play, which takes the pressure off of Beltran to rush things and possibly re-injure his elbow.
"I think there’s probably a little less of a, I don’t want to use 'sense of urgency,' but (sense) that we need to get him out there," Girardi said before the game. "We have more options. We were carrying three outfielders for a while there. Carlos was the fourth, and then we were running infielders out there. But with Martin (Prado), who’s played a lot of outfield, and then having Ich too -- we’ll make sure (Beltran)'s ready when he goes out there."
Beltran hasn't played the field since May 12, when he felt pain where doctors later found a bone spur in the joint. He started a throwing program a couple weeks ago, but isn't to the point yet, he says, where he can make a throw to home plate from the outfield is needed.
Signed to a three-year, $45-million deal in the offseason, Beltran has been limited to just 24 games in the outfield this season. He's served as the Yankees' DH since originally returning in June.
He went on the DL with a concussion just before the All-Star break, but has been on fire since then, hitting .375/.429/.625 (21-for-56) with four homeruns and 12 RBIs.
In getting Prado from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yankees are now able ot relegate Ichiro Suzuki back to the bench role that he played well in earlier in the season before being forced to full-time outfield duties. Because of that, they now have a true fourth outfield in Ichiro, meaning there's not much of a need for Beltran right now.
"I think we’ll keep him throwing and see where he's at," Girardi said. "The one thing we don't want to risk is him having a setback. We've kind of taken it day by day, but we'll keep him throwing."