Despite discomfort, Beltran says he feels great

Despite discomfort, Beltran says he feels great

ST. LOUIS -- While the cortisone injection is not a permanent cure for Carlos Beltran's left hand soreness, the shot seems to have done enough to keep the 35-year-old in the lineup for now.

Beltran went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup on Wednesday, and he was back in the cleanup spot for Thursday's series finale against the Astros.

"I feel great right now," Beltran said. "I'm just going to approach it day by day. I'm going to continue to come here and do the treatment and try to make it better. But [Wednesday] was a good day for me, because I wasn't really thinking about my hand. I was thinking about swinging the bat and trying to do my thing."

Beltran said he's been dealing with discomfort in the tendon just below his left middle finger for more than a month. He is still not sure what triggered the pain, but it got to be so nagging over the past two weeks that the club decided to consider additional treatment. Beltran and the medical staff settled on a cortisone injection.

"Right now, there's no time to take days off," Beltran said. "I was trying to find a way to stay in the lineup. We talked about it, we had an ultrasound to find out what is wrong. There's nothing wrong, the ligaments are fine. I just had a lot of inflammation in the middle finger."

The timing of the pain coincides with Beltran's recent dip in production, suggesting that there is perhaps correlation between the two. Since the All-Star break, Beltran is hitting .239 with a .270 on-base percentage. He batted .296 during the first half of the season.