Strained oblique lands Yanks' Carlos Beltran on disabled list

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, the team announced before Friday night's game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The move is retroactive to Wednesday.

The Yankees now have two-thirds of their Opening Day starting outfield on the DL as Beltran joins center fielderJacoby Ellsbury, who could be back soon; he is on a rehab assignment after what has been a six-week absence with a sprained right knee.

In Beltran's place, the Yankees have recalled rookie outfielder Ramon Flores. The team has also brought back infielder Gregorio Petit and optioned outfielder Taylor Dugas to Triple-A.

Beltran is hitting .260 with seven homers and 30 RBIs. He is in the second season of a three-year, $45 million contract.

Manager Joe Girardi said he would rather be safe than sorry with the 38-year-old Beltran.

"You risk hurting it really badly," Girardi said. "Like I said, with all the off days you are going to have over the next two weeks, I think it is smarter just to get him healthy. So many times with rib cage muscle injuries for players, I've found, they are healthy but still not quite as strong as they were before. Let's get this healed up."

There was some thought that Ellsbury might return Friday, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Thursday night that Ellsbury was still trying to get his legs under him after the extended layoff. Cashman did not speculate on exactly when Ellsbury will return.

Ellsbury did not play in his minor league rehab Friday. It was the third time in five days that Ellsbury sat out. Cashman said Friday in a text that Ellsbury is trying "to get his sea legs back."

"He's working extremely hard," Girardi said. "But he is going through a spring training again. Physically, you don't want to go out there if you are physically fatigued or sore. So he needs just get his legs under him, and once he does that he'll be a player."

Girardi said he would not put a timetable on it.

"When I do and then it doesn't go perfect, a lot of times it is a conspiracy," he said.

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