May 9, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals batter Carlos Beltran hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Star Deals With Knee Soreness

The St. Louis Cardinals' star outfielder has missed each of his last three starts with knee soreness. Is it time to worry about Carlos Beltran?

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Carlos Beltran Injury: Beltran Out Of The St. Louis Cardinals' Lineup For Fourth Game

For the fourth straight game, Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup had to do without outfielder Carlos Beltran. Injury problems are a yearly concern for Beltran's employers, but his hot start—he's hitting .293/.404/.642 on the season—makes this all the more frustrating for his newest team, who signed him to a two-year, $26 million deal in the offseason as one of a raft of Albert Pujols replacements. Beltran's problem, this whole time, has been labeled as "knee soreness," but he's never been unwell enough to keep him out of the pinch hitter's role—he did it again Thursday, making an eventual retroactive disabled list move impossible.

Making matters worse, his replacement, Cardinals super-sub Allen Craig, is himself bound for the 15-day disabled list. The Cardinals could be stuck with Matt Carpenter, who seems ill-equipped for outfield work, and erstwhile second baseman Skip Schumaker as their primary right fielders if Beltran isn't prepared to return to the lineup soon. If nothing else, this means the Cardinals won't have much luck resting Lance Berkman.


Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Repeatedly Scratch Outfielder For Knee Soreness

The St. Louis Cardinals don't seem close to placing him on the 15-day disabled list, but they clearly seem concerned with the most worrying Carlos Beltran injury of them all: Their prize outfielder is suffering from a recurring bout of knee soreness—and in the same knee the left him looking like a lost cause at times in 2009 and 2010. Beltran's been scratched from three consecutive lineups, appearing twice as a pinch hitter. With Allen Craig's hamstring flaring up, however, the Cardinals' ability to rest Beltran without disabling him is about to be heavily restricted.

The Cardinals can ill-afford to lose Beltran, with or without Craig; he's hitting .295/.407/.648, with 13 home runs, 32 RBI, and even five stolen bases, and looking every bit like the five-tool player the New York Mets devoted eight figures to after he nearly knocked out the MV3 Cardinals back in 2004. They'll wait as long as they can to make him test his all-important knee, but if Craig is hurt too he could be forced prematurely back into the lineup.


Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Sit Beltran For Second Day With Sore Knee

The St. Louis Cardinals sat hot-hitting Carlos Beltran for a second consecutive game Tuesday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs, following Monday's revelation that the outfielder—currently leading the National League with 13 home runs—was dealing with a sore knee. That's where, you'll remember, he dealt with the knee injury that ended his New York Mets tenure and nearly finished off his career; the Cardinals have been justifiably cautious since, although Beltran pinch-hit on both days, drawing an intentional walk in Tuesday's walk-off victory vs. the Cubs.

Beltran's continued presence in the box scores suggests this particularly flare-up of his knee injury isn't too serious—although it could prove ill-advised if he does go on the 15-day disabled list, since it will prevent a more aggressive backdating of the injury—but with Allen Craig back on the 25-man roster it's unlikely the Cardinals will rush Beltran now that they can help it.

Other injury news: Jon Jay is on the disabled list, and Lance Berkman is missing time for reasons ostensibly unrelated to his bum calf.


Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Star Sits With Sore Knee

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'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.

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