SAN DIEGO -- Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran pinch-hit in Wednesday's series finale against the Padres on what manager Mike Matheny said was a mental and physical break for the 35-year-old.
"It's both. Just giving him a day here," Matheny said.
The Cardinals sat the slumping Beltran a couple of times this weekend due struggles that have seen the star hit just .209 since June 25. He's battled injury, including pain in his left knee and a problem with his left hand, things Matheny says are undoubtedly a part of the recent skid by the man who led the National League in RBIs at the All-Star break.
"He claims physically he feels pretty good -- that's all relative to this time of the year," Matheny said. "There were a couple periods of time where he wasn't feeling as good -- right in the middle of what he's got going on right now -- I don't think he'd every deny that was an impact."
The impact was a large one, as Beltran was hitting .313 on June 25 and, more recently, has gone 5-for-34 in his last 10 games.
"I see a lot of things that I remember: how hard this game is. How hard it is to hit and keep that good thing going," Matheny said of Beltran's plate appearances. "In the first half, he was on a great roll, but when it leaves you, it's difficult to get back. He's working, fighting."