Over the weekend Carlos Beltran was cleared to play the outfield for the first time since May, but now his season-long elbow problems have returned and the 37-year-old has been scratched from the Yankees’ lineup.
Beltran was slated to start tonight at designated hitter, but instead Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that he’ll be examined further by doctors. He’s been playing through bone spurs in his elbow with little success, hitting a career-low .233 with 14 homers and a .707 OPS that’s his lowest since 2003.
That poor overall production includes a current 1-for-28 (.036) slump in his last eight games and Beltran apparently tweaked his elbow on a swing Tuesday. It’s long been assumed that Beltran will undergo offseason surgery to remove the bone chips and it’s possible the Yankees will decide to shut him down early.
Beltran is under contract for $15 million in both 2015 and 2016.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.