Carlos Beltran has played 17 games for the Yankees since returning from the disabled list for bone spurs in his elbow that may require surgery eventually, but they’ve all been at designated hitter and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Brendan Kuty of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Beltran tweaked his elbow while doing some throwing at Yankee Stadium over the weekend and the 37-year-old has been shut down from throwing for the foreseeable future.
That’s not a huge problem, because the Yankees have standout defenders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner in center field and left field, and they can use Ichiro Suzuki or Alfonso Soriano in right field. Of bigger concern is that Beltran has hit just .177 with a .585 OPS in 17 games since coming off the DL.
In the first season of a three-year, $45 million deal Beltran has hit .216 with seven homers and a .673 OPS in 50 games overall, which is a 150-point drop in OPS from his 2013 production with the Cardinals.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.