The bone spur in Carlos Beltran's elbow has been a "see how long he can go" situation since it was first diagnosed. It sounds like that finish line may have been reached yesterday. Beltran felt pain in his elbow during batting practice prior to last night's game and was scratched from the lineup. Speaking to the media, he didn't sound like a man who was confident he was going to be able to keep playing through the pain: “I felt pain during BP. Talked to a doctor after, and I have already received three cortisones, so they don’t recommend another one. We talk about, what is the next step? I will probably give myself two or three more days, and if I can’t go out and take a swing like I normally take in a game, I might need to have the surgery.”
A little time off has been helpful here and there to keep him playing, but after 3 cortisone shots he's not going to get another one. If the pain is enough that he had to be scratched, it's safe to assume that it won't be the last time he feels it, even with 2 or 3 days off. The smart decision at this point might be to get the surgery done and get a headstart on rehabbing and preparing for next year.
Elbow injury as a contributing factor or not, Beltran has been a big disappointment offensively this season. The hope will be that getting this issue taken care of now makes it more likely that he can bounce back in some capacity in 2015. That said, the loss of Beltran's presence as a switch hitter with power will hurt the lineup over these final 19 games. Chris Young isn't going to do what he did last night every night.