SAN FRANCISCO -- Outfielder Carlos Beltran reported to AT&T Park on Saturday to receive treatment on his left knee, which, as Beltran relayed to manager Mike Matheny, responded well the day after returning to action.
Beltran, who was one of just a few Cardinals players to stop by the ballpark after the team flew in from St. Louis, was not available for comment on the team's off-day prior to Sunday's 6:30 p.m. CT Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on FOX. However, Matheny said Beltran informed him that "everything is good" a day after Beltran took his place back in right field during Game 5.
Beltran suffered a left knee sprain in the first inning of Game 3 on Wednesday. He missed the next day's contest against the Giants but was cleared to play in Game 5 after receiving acupuncture and extensive treatment on his knee.
In Game 5, Beltran went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. He is hitting .382 this postseason.
"We obviously know that he's an impact player and has the ability to come into the postseason and make a dramatic difference," Matheny said. "We love having him on the field and were a little concerned when we saw him go down and weren't exactly sure how long it would take. It's good to have him back, and we just need to keep him there."
Cards weigh whether to use Wainwright in relief
SAN FRANCISCO -- Due to scheduling, Game 4 starters Adam Wainwright and Tim Lincecum will not be available to make another start during this best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, however, has already announced that Lincecum will be considered a ready reliever for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7. The Cardinals are still mulling whether they'll make Wainwright similarly available out of the bullpen.
"We're still talking about that," manager Mike Matheny said, shortly after landing in San Francisco on Saturday. "But nothing is in stone right now."
Wainwright pitched seven innings in St. Louis' 8-3 win over the Giants on Thursday. That means he will have had two days off leading into Game 6 and three days of rest if the series extends to seven games. Wainwright would normally throw a side session in the bullpen two or three days after a start, so having him pitch an inning in relief on that day would simply take the place of that pregame work.
The Cardinals, however, have to consider Wainwright's already-heavy workload in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. They also have to ensure that he'd be in the best position possible to start early in the World Series, should the team advance.
"You hate to ever push somebody, just like throwing a [Chris] Carpenter on short rest," Matheny said. "Every time you put a guy in a situation that's a little different than what he's used to and he's had some sort of extra issues, especially health issues, you're going to take more time in your decision. So we're just going to watch him close and see where we are and make those decisions as they come. There's no rush right now."
If Cards advance, Westbrook could be available
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Westbrook threw another bullpen session on Friday and afterward spoke optimistically about his chances of being healthy enough to contribute by the start of the World Series.
There is no guarantee that if the Cardinals advance to face the Tigers that Westbrook would be added to the team's 25-man roster. But the right-hander remains intent on proving that he is ready, if needed, now six weeks removed from suffering a right oblique injury.
Westbrook is slated to throw another simulated game on Monday -- his second in a week -- at either Busch Stadium or AT&T Park, depending on whether the Cardinals wrap up the National League Championship Series on Sunday.
Westbrook threw 49 pitches in his simulated game last Tuesday. This time, he will extend himself even further.
Although it recently seemed a long shot that Westbrook would push his way onto a postseason roster, Lance Lynn's two subpar NLCS starts could make Westbrook a more intriguing option. Though his pitch count would likely be limited, Westbrook could slide back into the rotation. He could also fit into the bullpen mix if the Cardinals want to make a change there.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.