The St. Louis Cardinals' hottest hitter, National League Player of the Week Carlos Beltran, has injury problems that would take a multiple-article series to properly detail, but his latest knee soreness hasn't yet been characterized as serious by the team, according to Cardinals.com's Jenifer Langosch, who notes that manager Mike Matheny called it "barking."
Beltran pinch hit in the ninth inning after sitting to start Monday's game, flying out on two pitches against Chicago Cubs reliever Rafael Dolis. He's hitting .298/.406/.653 on the season, with an NL-leading 13 home runs and 32 RBI to go with five stolen bases in six attempts. He's yet to appear in center field, but as a hitter Beltran looks every bit as healthy as he has since his best years with the New York Mets.
Beltran's knee will be babied all year; the injury initially announced as a "bone bruise" in the same knee and his subsequent microfracture surgery is what made him appear so fragile in the first place in his last years with the Mets, and what allowed the Cardinals to sign him for just two years after a 2011 season in which he had an OPS+ of 159.