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.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.