Carlos Beltran smiled as the gathering crowd of reporters approached his locker but it was not to reveal good or bad news about his hyperextended right elbow. Instead the smile was because he knew the wave of questions were coming over the next five minutes.
Beltran is day-to-day after injuring his elbow taking swings in the batting cage before he was scheduled for a fourth at-bat on Monday. He felt a sharp pain in the bone spurs on his right elbow after the first swing and when the pain did not subside after the second swing, he told manager Joe Girardi.
“Right now. I’m sore,” Beltran said before Tuesday’s game. “They put a cortisone shot yesterday on his elbow and I did an MRI while the game was going and they found out I had bone spur in the elbow. I was just taking swings in the cage and I felt a sharp pain and took another one and felt the same.
Beltran took a cortisone shot and said he’ll know in two or three days whether it worked based on if he can do his normal routine in the cage. If not, surgery might be possible. But even if surgery doesn’t happen in the season, Beltran anticipates it might happen in the offseason.
For now, he’s doing his best to not drift into thoughts of surgery and recovery with the possibility of requesting a second injection.
“Right now, we’re hoping the cortisone shot will take the pain away,” Beltran said. “Let’s say the cortisone gets better and if we have to do [surgery] in the offseason, we’ll do it, but if the cortisone doesn’t do it then I might need to do it during the season.”
Beltran is a month and a half into a three-year contract and is hitting .240 (30-for-125) but has five hits in his last 27 at-bats.
Kelley lands on DL
Shawn Kelley last pitched a week ago in Anaheim when he was part of an inning that saw Yankee pitchers issue six straight walks.
Now he has missed time due to a back injury and is headed to the DL with a strained lumbar spine.
Kelley filled in decently by getting three saves in David Robertson’s absence in April and his 16 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings are second among relievers. The Yankees don’t know how long beyond the normal 15-day DL stint Kelley will be out, but it moves up the roles in the bullpen for Adam Warren and Dellin Betances.
“It’s a blow to our bullpen,” Girardi said. “Anytime you lose anyone in your bullpen, it’s a blow and when you start talking about a late-inning guy it puts a little more responsibility on Warren and Betances and those guys will have to step up.”
Collins: Tejada received wake-up call
Ruben Tejada’s .198 batting average is still sub-standard — let alone someone the organization was touting as the successor to Jose Reyes — but it would be a lot worse if he didn’t have three hits in his last eight at-bats, including the game-winning hit in the 11th inning Sunday.
The timing of those three hits came just as the Mets promoted Wilmer Flores, a first baseman by trade, to play shortstop. But Flores quickly fell ill over the weekend and the job was returned to Tejada for the time being.
“This guy has hit the ball on the barrel his last six at-bats,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “If he didn’t walk, he’s hit it square, he’s hit it hard. He’s played very, very good defensively. I don’t know the reasons necessarily why, except perception would be he got a wake-up call and sometimes that makes a big difference.
“The only thing that you can assume, and you could be wrong, is Wilmer came in and he lost his job and he said I got to win it back and maybe he just got refocused.”
Super (young) subs
The perception is the Mets have been using the Super Two status as a way to beat the arbitration clock when it comes to their young pitching. That was viewed as a reason they promoted Zach Wheeler in the middle of June last season but they denied those accusations while discussing the promotions of pitching prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob DeGrom.
“We’ve been ridiculed at times because we’re worried about Super Twos and worried about things down the road,” Collins said. “We’re worried about winning and if that means we’ve got to bring up a young player that people think you might bring up later in the summer ... it should tell you that we’re trying to win and those are the guys we think we can win with.
“It’s exactly the same thing I told the two kids in the room. There’s a reason why you’re here. Because you can play here and that’s why you’ve been chosen.”
DeGrom joined the Mets bullpen Tuesday after going 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Las Vegas while Montero will start Wednesday after going 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA in eight starts in Las Vegas.
While DeGrom has not been a reliever since attending Stetson College, Montero has been likened by fellow Dominican teammates to Pedro Martinez.
“This guy has a feel for pitching. He knows when to pitch inside,” Collins said. “He’s not afraid to pitch inside; he’s a strike thrower with all his stuff. It may not be Matt Harvey stuff but he can pitch and he knows how to use his stuff. He’s just got a knack for it and the Dominican players have nicknamed him 'Little Pedro' because he’s got a feel for it. Those are big statements. I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated. He might be a little anxious but once he gets out there he’s going to be who he is.
Besides talking about the two pitchers, Collins also revealed the Mets planned on calling up whichever pitching prospect was doing the best in the minors in May, especially if Jenrry Mejia didn’t work out.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.