"I've been feeling pain once in a while, but what I was feeling yesterday was very sharp," Beltran said. "I just felt that, talking to the [Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad], it probably could be that the previous cortisone [shots] are wearing out."
Beltran sometimes feels a grabbing sensation in the elbow after he swings a bat during games. But that feeling has usually disappeared by the next morning, which made the pain he felt Wednesday a cause for concern. The cortisone shot he received on Wednesday was his third this season.
Beltran is hoping to return to the Yankees lineup on Friday, but that seems to depend on if he responds to the shot well enough to be able to swing a bat on Thursday.
"He's day to day, we'll go through the next couple of days and see what we've got," manager Joe Girardi said after Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Houston. "He won't be a player for me tomorrow. I don't expect that, but we'll see after that."
Beltran was originally in the Yankees' lineup Wednesday as the designated hitter before he informed Girardi of his injury. Derek Jeter replaced Beltran as the DH; Stephen Drew, who was originally going to play second base, was moved to short; and Martin Prado and Ichiro Suzuki played second base and right field, respectively.
This serves as the latest setback for Beltran, 37, who is in the first season of a three-year, $45 million contract. He has missed 33 games with the elbow injury and a mild concussion, and he is hitting .233 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs -- well below his average of .281, 24 homers and 88 RBIs during his first 15 full seasons in the big leagues.
Beltran had been limited to the DH role since his elbow injury before he played the outfield on Saturday for the first time since May 11. He saw limited action in the field that game -- a fly ball in the eighth inning -- so Girardi downplayed that as having anything to do with this recent setback or Beltran's 1-for-28 recent slide at the plate.
"He said he's felt it other times, but it goes away," Girardi said. "Our concern is that he woke up and felt it this morning, but this is not the first time that this has happened."