SAN DIEGO — Carlos Beltran called Saturday “my best day overall” since being sidelined Wednesday with tightness in his right hamstring. But he also knows he can’t force things.
“From now on, I have to manage myself,” Beltran said before the Yankees’ 6-3 victory over the Padres on Sunday. “I cannot be crazy about it.”
Joe Girardi clearly feels the same. While saying his hope is for Beltran to be back for the White Sox series, which begins Monday afternoon in Chicago, the manager indicated it will be at designated hitter.
“I’m hoping we can get him back in the lineup because he’s really important to it,” Girardi said. “I’ve been encouraged the last couple of days, but the one thing we have to be careful of is you don’t run him out there too early and jeopardize and make it worse. Because then you’re going to lose him a long time. So I’m not so sure, if he says he’s ready to go tomorrow, where I’m going to put him.”
Beltran, who has a .299/.340/.576 slash line, 19 homers and 53 RBIs in 75 games, said he did significantly more work Saturday than in previous days.
“The day before, I only did like five, six sprints, I doubled that, and I did work in the outfield,” said Beltran, who doubled as a pinch hitter on Friday night and grounded out Sunday when he pinch hit for Chad Green in the seventh. “I was able to move myself around. I felt pretty good doing that. For me, that’s a good thing.”
The Yankees have not yet decided whether they will be buyers or sellers at the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, but if they go with the latter, Beltran, in the final year of a three-year, $45-million deal, will be a sought-after bat.
He said Sunday that his thoughts are nowhere near what could happen. “I’m happy where I am right now,” said Beltran, who has a limited no-trade clause in his deal. “Right now I still feel we have time to change this thing around, so my mind is right here.”
The former Met later added: “I live in New York, I love playing in New York, I proved that I can play in New York. I love the challenge, man. I’ve been here three years. I love the team, I love the guys. We have good chemistry.”