Carlos Beltran returns to lineup as Cardinals beat Braves

St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran went 2 for 4 against Atlanta in his return to the lineup Monday after a bout with the flu.

JUPITER, Fla. — Carlos Beltran has recovered from the flu and is ready to get back to playing ball.


Beltran went 2 for 4 in his return, with singles in the third and seventh innings on the first pitch of each at-bat. The 34-year-old outfielder saw only five pitches in four at-bats during the Cardinals’ 5-4 split-squad win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday.

“Physically, I feel fine,” Beltran said, regarding the flu. “I’m just happy to be able to get out there and face live pitching and get a feel for the game.”

However, Beltran is still experiencing shoulder soreness. He is expected to be the Cardinals’ designated hitter again today when St. Louis goes to Port St. Lucie to face his former team, the New York Mets.

“Right now everything looks fast to me. The game looks real fast,” Beltran said. “The only way that will go away is just by playing.”

Kolten Wong singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning for the Cardinals.

The teams combined to walk 19 batters. Starter Brandon Beachy issued five of the 12 walks for the Braves, who are 1-10 this spring.

“It was pretty terrible,” Beachy said. “I was struggling to throw strikes at times. I was trying to make adjustments, and they are just not coming as quickly as I need them to.”

After a smooth first inning, Beachy’s command faltered in the second. He allowed one hit and three walks, including Erik Komatsu to bring in the Cardinals’ first run. Beachy walked two more in the third.

“I knew what I was trying to do. It just wasn’t happening,” said Beachy, who wanted to stop his head from moving so much during his delivery.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia allowed one run, three hits and two walks. Only 21 of his 40 pitches were strikes.


METS: Reliever Tim Byrdak will miss four to six weeks because of a knee injury, and star third baseman David Wright has gotten a cortisone shot to help his ailing rib cage.

Byrdak will have surgery today to fix a tear in his right knee. He pitched in 72 games last year and was expected to be the only left-hander in the Mets’ bullpen when the season opens in April.

Wright has not played in a spring training game this year. He has been slowed by pain in his left rib cage and is in New York awaiting further treatment.


DIAMONDBACKS: Joe Saunders left his start against the Cleveland Indians after being hit in the left shin by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Santana.

Saunders was making his second spring start. In two innings against Texas, he gave up five hits and two runs.


PHILLIES: Vance Worley struck out eight in four perfect innings, Hector Luna and Jimmy Rollins homered, and Philadelphia held Pittsburgh without a hit until the seventh in a 4-1 victory over the Pirates.


RAYS: James Shields took another step toward his Opening Day assignment for Tampa Bay, pitching four scoreless innings during a 2-1, 10-inning loss to Minnesota.

Shields allowed three hits, walked two and struck out two in his second spring training start, building on the two perfect innings he worked against the Yankees last week.


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