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Beltran swinging to get back into the swing

ST LOUIS -- For another day, at least, Carlos Beltran has avoided surgery.

Beltran hasn't played since May 12, when he was forced to pull himself from the lineup in the late innings of a Subway Series game against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. He was diagnosed with a bone spur in his right elbow, which he said last week is an old injury.

On Monday, Beltran took 15 swings from each side of the plate at Yankee Stadium with a fungo bat. It went well enough that he will return to the batter's box on Tuesday with a regular bat for another 15 swings from each side.

With no ill effects, he could hit off a tee and from tosses on Thursday.

"The only way you can look at it is as a positive step, and you hope that when he comes in tomorrow, he feels good, and when he takes swings with the regular bat, he feels good," manager Joe Girardi said. "Then we can get to tee and toss on Thursday."

Girardi said that it's too early to tell if Beltran has avoided surgery. If Beltran were to undergo surgery to shave down the spur, he would miss approximately eight to 12 weeks.

"Obviously, he's going to have to get into some games for us to really know, and take all different kinds of swings," Girardi said. "There's a swing and a miss, probably, that he'll have to go through to see, when you get fully extended, how it reacts."

Alex Halsted and Teddy Cahill are associate reporters for
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