Carlos Beltran out of lineup with knee injury, but available off bench

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Carlos Beltran had hoped to be back in the Cardinals’ lineup after leaving last night’s game with a strained left knee, but manager Mike Matheny just told reporters that the veteran right fielder is “too sore” to start Game 4 against the Giants.

Matheny did say that Beltran will be available off the bench as a pinch-hitter and even at less than full strength the guy with the highest OPS in playoff history is a nice little weapon to have for the late innings.

Matt Carpenter replaced Beltran in right field last night, but today he’ll start at first base with Allen Craig shifting to right field.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.