ST. LOUIS - Carlos Beltran passed test No. 1 on Monday. But what that means in regard to avoiding surgery can't yet be determined. "I think it's way too early to tell, but today was a step in the right direction,'' Joe Girardi said.

Earlier in the day at Yankee Stadium, Beltran took swings from both sides of the plate with a fungo bat and experienced no pain from the bone spur in his right elbow. Beltran, out since May 13, received a cortisone shot in the elbow shortly after landing on the DL and visited noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Rest was prescribed to see if the elbow responded, and Monday was, as Girardi said, a positive step.

Beltran will swing with a regular bat Tuesday and, if there are no setbacks, progress to tee-and-toss Thursday. Rehab games are still a ways away. Said Girardi, " talked to him Saturday and said we'll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we get through this.''



David Phelps, who grew up about 15 minutes away in suburban St. Louis as a "die-hard Cardinals fan from the time I could walk,'' starts Tuesday night against righthander Lance Lynn (5-2, 3.60). He said he's treating it as just another start, but he knows that's not easy to do.

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"There's a lot of emotions that go into it,'' said Phelps, who estimated that he purchased 25 tickets for family and friends. "Driving into the stadium today, I couldn't help but smile. But at the end of the day, if you try to make too much of it, it's going to get the best of you.''


Kelley throwing

Shawn Kelley (back) played catch at 75 feet and "reported no issues,'' Girardi said. Kelley has been on the DL since May 7 with a strained lumbar spine. He threw a bullpen session May 19 and woke up the next morning with a stiff back, sidelining him from any throwing until Monday.