A strain to the left knee of Carlos Beltran has made the St. Louis Cardinals' path to defending their World Series championship a touch more difficult.
UPDATE: Friday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. ET by Mike Shiekman
Cardinals' fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Beltran will start Game 5.
St. Louis Post Dispatch's Derrick Goold was on the scene:
The Cardinals will have all hands on deck to close out the series against the Giants. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 PM (East Coast).
--End of Update--
UPDATE: Thursday, October 18 at 4:09 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
Though there is no structural damage on his knee, outfielder Carlos Beltran is still sore and will not be in the lineup, but will be able to pinch-hit in Game 4 against the San Francisco Giants, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Beltran still sore. Not in lineup. Available as pinch-hitter for #STLCards.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 18, 2012
With the Cardinals coming through with a clutch victory on Wednesday night, Beltran being out of the lineup at least came at a relatively good time for the team.
Game 3 hero Matt Carpenter seems likely to get another shot on Thursday.
UPDATE: Thursday, October 18 at 7:10 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Good news for Cardinals fans as Carlos Beltran's MRI results revealed no structural damage, according to CBS' Jon Heyman.
Beltran had mri. No structural damage to knee.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 18, 2012
---END OF UPDATE---
Beltran was replaced by Matt Carpenter as the Cardinals try to ride their home-field advantage to a 2-1 series lead. At the time of writing, St. Louis is trailing 1-0 in the top of the third.
In his only at-bat in Wednesday's game, Beltran hit a grounder to second, and in an effort to beat out the throw, he stretched his step to touch the bag, and it is likely this is when the injury occurred.
This is the last player the Cardinals wanted to see fall victim to an injury. Beltran has been sublime. For this postseason, he is hitting .414 with three home runs. One of those home runs was the decisive two-run blast in Game 1, and he was one of the lone bright spots in Game 2 as he went for two doubles in the Cardinals' lopsided loss.
This postseason success is not a new development for Beltran. The guy has proven to be an astonishingly adept playoff player.
In fact, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out, he is the all-time leader in playoff slugging percentage.
The Cardinals need to get this production back in the lineup. The problem is, there is next to no time to recover. There is just one off day remaining in this series, which will occur, if necessary, when the teams head back to San Francisco following Game 5.
It is a safe bet that team doctors will be giving Beltran every possible treatment to speed his recovery.
Keep it locked to this page as we track the progress of that recovery by posting the latest updates on his status.