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5/31/2014 12:22 A.M. ET

Beltran optimistic about return after game-speed BP

NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran took batting practice from both sides of the plate on the field at Yankee Stadium on Friday, and the Yankees outfielder said that he was "relieved" to not feel any discomfort in his ailing right elbow.

Beltran, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list, is hoping to avoid surgery that would shave down a bone spur in his elbow. Beltran said that he was able to take his swings at full-game speed, an encouraging sign as he works to return to the big league lineup.

"It's been a long wait for me mentally, just trying to get back as soon as I can and working as hard as I can to avoid surgery," Beltran said. "Thank God, things are going well."

The Yankees have estimated that if Beltran needs surgery, it would take him out of action for an additional eight to 12 weeks. Friday's development is a positive step, but it brings no guarantees.

"I don't think you're out of the woods," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he has to go through rehab games where all types of things happen -- where you swing and miss, or you get fooled, or you get out in front of a ball.

"I think you're going to have to go through some of that. And you could go through rehab games, and you still may not know. The only way to find out if we can get him into games is if we get him in games."

Girardi said that Beltran, 37, would take batting practice again on Saturday and is expected to require at least a brief Minor League rehabilitation assignment before being available to help in the Majors. Girardi said that if Beltran comes back, he would probably be used more as a designated hitter in the early going, with Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano continuing to play right field.

Beltran first felt the discomfort in his his elbow while hitting in the underground cages during the Subway Series game against the Mets on May 12. He said that a pair of cortisone injections have helped to alleviate the discomfort, as well as a brace that he plans to wear on his elbow while batting.

"I'm happy, honestly," Beltran said. "These few days have been tough because I've been going seeing doctors, seeing [Dr. James] Andrews. The doctor said it was a 50-50 chance. The 50-50 chance means that I'm glad I'm on this 50 percent. I'm happy about that."

Feeling ready to go, Tex returns to Yanks' lineup

NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira took early batting practice on the diamond at Yankee Stadium on Friday and declared himself ready to play, having missed the Yankees' last three games with inflammation in his surgically repaired right wrist.

Teixeira said that the inflammation is related to the injury that ended his 2013 campaign, and he has been told that it could flare up again. He believes that he can stay in the lineup with proper management.

"It's exactly what we expected," said Teixeira, who visited a New York-based specialist during Thursday's off-day. "It's just tendinitis. That's what we expected. From that standpoint, it's a relief that there's no structural damage, but it's just something that we'll have to continue to deal with."

Teixeira was scratched from Monday's lineup against the Cardinals in St. Louis and has not played since Sunday against the White Sox in Chicago. The inflammation first started bothering him during Saturday's extra-inning game at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I'll just stay on top of it. I have stayed on top of it up until now," Teixeira said. "The next time it flares up, maybe take a day. Hopefully it doesn't turn into three. Sometimes taking a day when you first feel it will keep you from having to miss three. That's the goal."

Teixeira's absence during the Cardinals series forced the Yankees to use Kelly Johnson, Brian McCann and Brendan Ryan at first base. Friday, Teixeira was back at first and hitting cleanup.

"You can't predict when inflammation is going to pop up," manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't think we've run anyone out there too much to this point where we've jeopardized [health], but sometimes things just pop up and you have to deal with it."

Kelley takes 'big step' with bullpen session

NEW YORK -- Shawn Kelley threw 20 fastballs and snapped off five sliders in the bullpen Friday at Yankee Stadium, his first time on a mound since his back locked up following a May 6 outing against the Angels in Anaheim.

Kelley, who is on the Yankees' 15-day disabled list with a strained lumbar spine, said that he tested his back by throwing with some intensity, about what he normally would have done to prepare for coming into a game.

"Honestly, today was a big step," Kelley said. "If I wake up tomorrow and feel good, then I know that we can probably put a schedule in tact and set a goal."

Kelley is tentatively scheduled to throw another bullpen on Sunday and would then be sent on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Joe Girardi said.

"He's going to have to pitch somewhere," Girardi said. "It's been 3 1/2 weeks since he's been in a game, so he's going to have to get in a game. We're probably going to want him to do another bullpen first before that happens."

Bombers bits

• Left-hander CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) was seen on Friday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, examining his progress. Sabathia is not expected to be ready for big league duty until July at the earliest.

"He is better and he's going to start some more movement," manager Joe Girardi said after Friday's 6-1 loss to the Twins. "They have all these fancy treadmills and things. I think he's going to start doing some of that."

Brian Roberts was elevated to sixth in the Yankees' lineup on Friday, the second time he has hit in that slot this season. Roberts extended his hitting streak to six games with a single to lead off the second. In that stretch, he is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with two doubles, a homer and two RBIs.

"Roberts has been swinging the bat. His at-bats have been really good," Girardi said before the game. "He's consistently hit the ball good, so we moved him up."

• On this date in 1956, Mickey Mantle slugged a home run off the Senators' Pedro Ramos that struck the upper-deck frieze in right field at Yankee Stadium, missing by mere inches from going completely out of the stadium.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.