"It just puts you in somewhat of a difficult position. If we were to test it and make it worse, if we were to just have him hit left-handed, everyone would possibly bring in a reliever when it was his turn and then you've got to make a switch," manager Joe Girardi said Friday. "We had concerns about him trying to throw, so we thought it was best to give him this time off -- especially with the days off that we have and the All-Star break, we're trying to take advantage of them."
Beltran struggled through much of the early season, but Girardi said he has been swinging the bat better in the last month. Beltran is batting .260 with 30 RBIs and seven home runs.
The Yankees were concerned that if Beltran attempted to play through the pain, it could backfire and result in a more serious injury.
"So many times with rib-cage muscles, I've found that players come back and they're healthy, and they're still not quite as strong as they were before," Girardi said. "So let's get this healed up ... let's make sure he's healthy."
The Yankees are now left to compete without two of their prominent outfielders in Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, who is still working his way back from a right knee sprain he sustained in May.
Girardi stressed that he had no timetable on Ellsbury's return and he would continue to play it by ear. Ellsbury is on a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He's working extremely hard, he's going through a Spring Training again. Physically, you don't want to go out there if you're physically fatigued or sore," Girardi said. "We've just got to get his legs under him, and once we do that, we'll have a player."
In corresponding roster moves for Beltran's injury, the Yankees recalled Ramon Flores and Gregorio Petit from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned Taylor Dugas.
Though Flores was called up to help fill the void in the outfield, Girardi elected to put Brett Gardner, Chris Young and Garrett Jones in the outfield in the series opener against the Rays on Friday.
"Chris Young's been one of our hotter hitters, so I decided to play him. I will try to work Flores into the mix, but just with him traveling today, driving down, I just figured that Chris has been swinging great, Garrett hit a home run and this ballpark I think plays pretty favorable to him. I'm going to go with that."
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com.