Key steps forward for Beltran, Pineda

Key steps forward for Beltran, Pineda

ST LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran and Michael Pineda both took key steps toward returning to the Yankees on Tuesday.

Beltran, who hasn't played since May 12 because of a bone spur in his right elbow, took 15 swings from each side of the plate at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, this time with a bat. The 37-year-old veteran had taken 15 swings from each side with a fungo bat on Monday.

Beltran will take Wednesday off before taking swings off a tee and from toss on Thursday as he works to avoid surgery, which would put him on the shelf for approximately eight to 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, right-hander Pineda took a step toward rejoining New York's rotation. Pineda hasn't pitched in the Majors since April 23, first serving a 10-day suspension, then straining a muscle in his upper back while throwing a simulation game in Tampa, Fla., to stay sharp.

On Tuesday he threw 28 pitches in two innings in an extended spring game at the club's complex in Tampa. He'll pitch in a simulated game there on Sunday, throwing between 50 and 60 pitches, according to manager Joe Girardi.

There was no timetable set from there, but Pineda will likely continue to be extended and need a rehab start before returning to the Majors.

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.