Beltran out of starting lineup with sore left hand

Beltran out of starting lineup with sore left hand

ST. LOUIS -- Bothered by a sore left hand, Cardinals center fielder Carlos Beltran did not start Tuesday's series opener against the Astros.

Manager Mike Matheny didn't go into many specifics about the injury, saying only that Beltran's hand has "been bothering him for a while now." Tuesday, though, marked the first time that the injury was cited as a reason for Beltran not starting.

Beltran was not in the lineup on Saturday, either, though Matheny described that absence as related to general fatigue.

Beltran, who was available to pinch-hit on Tuesday, is 4-for-23 with two RBIs in the first six games of the homestand. His .237 average since the All-Star break has dropped his season average to .278. He leads the National League with 85 RBIs and trails only Ryan Braun in home runs. Beltran has hit 28, while Braun has gone deep 33 times.

With Beltran on the bench, Jon Jay started in center field and Allen Craig started in right field, shifting into the cleanup spot. Matt Carpenter earned the start at first base.