If there is one batter who needs to stay healthy this season for the New York Yankees to be successful, it is Carlos Beltran. Not only do they need him in the order every day, but they need his right elbow to hold up so he can play right field regularly.
If Beltran can play right most days, it would leave the Designated Hitter spot open for either Alex Rodriguez to claim or for manager Joe Girardi to use in a platoon. With the Yankees’ offense likely to be an issue, they need to squeeze every run out of it. That starts with Beltran returning to an .830 OPS guy (like he was in 2013) instead of a .703 OPS hitter (as he was in 2014).
Beginning in the middle of May, Carlos Beltran’s 2014 at-bats were more than just a contest between him and the pitcher. It was a fight to manage the pain associated with nearly every swing. The only cure was surgery to remove a bone spur and multiple loose fragments from his right elbow; a procedure Beltran put off until the end of last season.
Entering the second year of a three-year, $45 million deal, Beltran expects to be the regular right fielder, not an outfielder/designated hitter as he approaches the tender age of 38 in April.
Thinking out his 2015 lineup, Girardi foresees a switch-hitter in the third spot, most likely Beltran, with switch-hitter Mark Teixeira batting after cleanup hitter Brian McCann. Girardi has eased Beltran into action this spring, mindful of the recent surgery and the mileage on a player who might be the most important figure in his lineup.
Beltran averaged hitting .282 with 28 home runs and 90 RBI in his two seasons with St. Louis before signing with the Yankees and falling to .233, 15 and 49 in 109 games last year.
Surgery became an option not long after Beltran felt that first sharp jab of pain during a May series against the Mets. Beltran opted for cortisone shots instead.
Not only do the Yankees need a healthy Beltran this season, but they also need a healthy Mark Teixeira. Both of their health situations affects the Yankees chances of making the playoffs and winning in general. They need to have a comeback season, especially Carlos Beltran.