St. Louis Cardinals fans pining over the loss of slugger Carlos Beltran can stop feeling sorry for themselves.
Beltran, who some believe is the missing ingredient from the Redbirds' anemic offense, managed to injure himself between at bats while serving as the New York Yankees designated hitter in a game against his former club, the New York Mets.
According to ESPN, Beltran hurt his elbow while taking a few cuts in the batting cage between plate appearances. There was no word about when he is expected to return to the lineup. He'll have an MRI on the injured joint today and the Yankees ought to have an idea about how long he'll be out after that. But it might be a while.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told CBS last month he thought Beltran has been battling injuries since the middle of April when he crashed hard into a wall during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. On April 16 Beltran was batting .327 with four home runs. Since then he's hitting .171 with one homer. Hopefully Beltran can use the time off from his elbow injury to get his other nagging problems sorted out and come back ready to play when the joint recovers.
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Beltran was a very productive player for the Cardinals during his two seasons in St. Louis as the batting order replacement for free agent defector Albert Pujols. He hit .282 with 56 homers during his two-year stay in St. Louis while Pujols batted .275 with 47 home runs over the same span. But the Redbirds found his price too high to extend his stay here. Allen Craig took over in right field while the Birds await the arrival of top prospect Oscar Taveras who is expected to take over Beltran's old spot permanently.
While I am a big Beltran fan, I'm not sure the .234 batting average with 5 homers and 15 runs batted in would make a significant difference in the Cardinals' record so far this season. If Beltran was re-signed, the Birds certainly wouldn't have laid out the cash for Jhonny Peralta who is slightly out-performing Beltran at the plate with a .237 average, 8 homers and 16 batted in. Plus, without Beltran the Cardinals would be forced to field offensively impotent shortstop Pete Kozma who batted .217 with one homer and 35 RBIs during the entirety of the 2013 season.
Unlike with Lance Berkman, the Cardinals dodged the injury bullet when they inked Beltran to that two-year contract in 2012. But I'm still glad St. Louis didn't dish out the $45 million over the next three years that the Yankees agreed to play a 37-year-old guy with bad knees.
On the bright side, the Redbirds rooters who have called for the designated hitter to be added to the National League since the injury of pitcher Joe Kelly while running the bases have some food for thought.
Injuries can happen at any time because of reasons that' couldn't possibly be imagined. That's just how it goes over the course of a long season.