NEW YORK -- Ichiro Suzuki's sore lower back is improving, according to the veteran outfielder, but entering Tuesday night's Subway Series contest against the Mets, he did not believe he would be available to play.
"Right now, I think I will be another no-go tonight," Ichiro said through his interpreter, Allen Turner. "I tried, and I think that's the best decision."
Ichiro, 40, injured his back attempting to catch a sinking line drive in Sunday's game against the Brewers at Miller Park. He was unable to take batting practice on the field Monday, a rarity for him.
"I tried everything," Ichiro said. "I tried to run, I tried to throw, I tried to swing. That's what it kind of came down to now. I wasn't able to go, so that's where I'm at."
Despite beginning the year in a limited role, Ichiro has been one of the Yankees' most productive offensive players thus far. He is batting .364 (20-for-55) with an .833 on-base-plus slugging percentage in 30 games and has logged 10 hits in his last 27 at-bats.
"Those are some of the things that you deal with," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think when you become older, your body doesn't necessarily bounce back as quick and maybe heal quite as quick."
Girardi said that the Yankees' recent spate of injuries is reminding him of last year, when the club set a franchise record by using 56 players during the regular season.
"You've got to fight through it. That's what you've got to do," Girardi said. "No one is going to feel sorry for you; I don't feel sorry for us. We've got to fight through it and find a way to get it done. That's what you've got to do. We got a lot of practice at it last year, so we're used to it."
Beltran has bone spur; surgery possible
NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran has been diagnosed with a bone spur in his right elbow, and the Yankees outfielder is hoping that a cortisone injection will allow the discomfort to calm down. If not, surgery is a possibility.
Beltran said that he felt the injury while swinging in the batting cages during the Yankees' 9-7 loss to the Mets at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Beltran was in the lineup as the Yanks' designated hitter in the game, going 0-for-3 before taking himself out of the lineup.
"I just was taking swings in the cage and felt a sharp pain," Beltran said. "I took another one and felt the same, and told [manager] Joe [Girardi] that I wasn't going to be able to continue."
Beltran had an MRI exam performed on Monday and said that he was told the bone spur has been there for a while, but he was not aware of it until now. Even if the cortisone shot permits Beltran to continue playing, he said that he may have surgery this offseason to shave it down.
"I think you have to give the cortisone shot a chance to work," Girardi said. "They believe it's an old bone spur. It's aggravating his elbow now. If in a couple of days he doesn't feel better, then my level of concern would be pretty high."
Beltran, 37, is in the first season of a three-year, $45 million contract with the Yankees. In 33 games, the veteran is batting .234 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and a .715 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Girardi said that the Yankees will wait two or three days to see how the situation plays out, and they will not place Beltran on the disabled list until they have more information.
"Right now, I'm day to day," Beltran said. "Let's hope tomorrow the injection does the job and I'm able to come here and do the work that I do."
Back issue lands Kelley on disabled list
NEW YORK -- The Yankees decided on Tuesday that they could not wait any longer for Shawn Kelley's back to loosen up, placing the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lumbar spine.
New York recalled outfielder Zoilo Almonte from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a corresponding roster move, a nod to a depleted outfield that will face the Mets on Tuesday without the services of Carlos Beltran (right elbow bone spur) and Ichiro Suzuki (sore back).
Kelley hasn't pitched since May 6 and was not available on Monday, when the Yanks' bullpen frittered away a late lead by allowing five unanswered runs in the final three innings to the Mets.
"It's just not getting to where it needs to get, and now we're looking at seven days, eight days," manager Joe Girardi said. "So we figured with the health of our outfielders, the way they are, it's probably a good idea to call up Zoilo and go from there."
Kelley is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA and four saves in 16 games this season. Kelley said that he first started to be bothered by the stiffness during the Yankees' series against the Angels in Anaheim last week.
"It's just a waiting game at this point," Kelley said after the Yanks' 12-7 loss to the Mets on Tuesday. "It could start to feel better any day. The what-if game and continuing to be a man short, we can't keep doing that."
"It's a blow to our bullpen. Any time you lose anyone in your bullpen, it's a blow," Girardi said. "When you start talking late-inning guys, it puts a little more responsibility on [Adam] Warren and [Dellin] Betances. Those guys will have to step up. They've been stepping up all year for us."
Signed as an amateur free agent in 2005, Almonte was batting .273 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games at Triple-A. The 24-year-old made his big league debut last season, posting a .236 average with one homer and nine RBIs.
Girardi said that with Kelley deleted from the bullpen mix, he would likely use Warren in the eighth inning and Betances in the seventh. Girardi would also entertain calling upon closer David Robertson for more than three outs.
"I might have to. I was going to do it last night; we didn't get to that spot, but it might be a situation he has to do it tonight," Girardi said.
• Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) was scheduled to be seen by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, according to Girardi. It was initially thought that Sabathia would not be able to schedule an appointment until Thursday.
• Girardi announced after Tuesday's loss that Minor League righty Chase Whitley will start Thursday's game against the Mets at Citi Field. Right-hander Alfredo Aceves was originally a candidate, but he threw 18 pitches in Monday's loss and another 52 on Tuesday.
• Brett Gardner's grand slam on Monday was the seventh in the history of the Subway Series. Five have been hit by Yankees: Hideki Matsui (2), Alex Rodriguez (1) and Mark Teixeira (1). Mike Piazza and Carlos Delgado hit Subway Series grand slams for the Mets.
• Tuesday marks Yankees catcher John Ryan Murphy's 23rd birthday.
• On this date in 1955, Mickey Mantle went 4-for-4 with three home runs -- two left-handed, one right-handed -- in a 5-2 victory over the Tigers in the Bronx. It marked Mantle's only career three-homer game, and his first of 10 career games with homers from both sides of the plate.