Girardi not sure when Beltran will return

Yankees right fielder exited Tuesday's game due to right hamstring tightness

Girardi not sure when Beltran will return

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Carlos Beltran's health is improving after he experienced tightness in his right hamstring Tuesday, but Girardi couldn't provide a timetable for his best hitter's return to the lineup.

Beltran, who is hitting .297 with 19 homers and 53 RBIs, left the 7-1 loss to the Rangers after stopping at first base following a first-inning single. Girardi said Beltran probably wouldn't be in the lineup Thursday, and he might not play when the Yankees travel to San Diego, a National League park, this weekend.

"It's probably easy to manage if he's DHing, but we're going to San Diego," Girardi said. "So that's a concern."

Beltran on hamstring injury

The plan prior to Beltran's injury was to give him some time at designated hitter, partly in hopes of keeping him rested to play right field against the Padres. At this point, he is still considered day to day.

Nevertheless, Girardi emphasized the importance of keeping Beltran's bat in the lineup going forward.

"You want to feel good that when you put him out there, that's he going to be OK," Girardi said. "But, in the situation that we're in, you can't always wait as long as you want. So I think you have to judge somewhere in between there."

Girardi said there hasn't been talk of calling up right fielder Aaron Judge, the Yankees' No. 2 prospect, to provide some offense with Beltran down. Judge is hitting .266 with 16 homers at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"The Minor League people are trying to finishing this kid off, so when and if he gets here, he's here to stay," Girardi said.

Girardi knows the Yankees need to gain ground to get back in the American League postseason picture, and Beltran's absence doesn't help.

Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.