JUPITER, Fla. -- A year after considering Carlos Beltran as a center-field option, the Cardinals are changing course. Manager Mike Matheny said on Sunday the club does not intend to use Beltran in center this season, presumably in an effort to protect Beltran's already-achy knees from enduring further stress.
"Last year, it was a topic of conversation and we toyed with it a little bit," Matheny said. "But I think we realize that it's a stretch for him at this point in his career. We're going to try and set him up for success."
Beltran played center field almost exclusively the first 13 years of his Major League career before the Mets shifted him to right during the 2011 season. Beltran had missed an extensive amount of time the previous season while recovering from right-knee surgery.
In 2012, Beltran started seven games in center and finished another two there for St. Louis.
The new defensive limitations the Cardinals are putting on Beltran will force the club to use one of its remaining bench spots on a center fielder. Shane Robinson, Adron Chambers and non-roster invitee Justin Christian could all fill that need.
Furcal, Craig get at-bats as designated hitters
JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny utilized the designated-hitter spot on Sunday to find at-bats for Rafael Furcal and Allen Craig, both of whom, to varying degrees, are limited in their availability.
With left-hander Jon Lester starting for the Red Sox, Matheny saw an opportunity to get Furcal an at-bat from the right side. Furcal's ailing right elbow has hindered him from throwing and hitting left-handed, but he has continued to take swings right-handed while getting treatment.
Fortunate for Furcal, too, was that his spot at the top of the order came around a second time with left-hander Andrew Miller on the mound. That allowed the shortstop to get a second plate appearance. He went 0-for-2.
The third time the Cardinals' lineup turned over, Craig hit in the DH spot. He delivered an RBI single to center in his first Grapefruit League at-bat. He grounded out his next time up.
Craig's situation is nowhere near as tenuous as Furcal's, but the Cardinals have opted to take Craig along a little slower than usual after the first baseman alerted the club to some soreness in his right shoulder.
"I'm fine," Craig said after the game. "We're just taking it real slow. We have a long spring, a long season. If you have even a little something barking, we're going to take it slow. It just felt good to get out there and play a little bit."
Adams held out with sore left knee
JUPITER, Fla. -- First baseman Matt Adams was unavailable for the Cardinals on Sunday after waking up with a sore left knee. Manager Mike Matheny did not put an estimate on how long Adams might be sidelined by the issue.
"I have no idea how it happened," Matheny said. "He said he just woke up and it was swollen. We'll keep a close eye on it."
Adams played eight innings in the field in Saturday's Grapefruit League opener and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. With Adams hurting and Allen Craig limited by shoulder soreness, the Cardinals have limited first-base options for the time being. Ty Wigginton and Matt Carpenter handled the position on Sunday.
Adams is on the outside looking in at a bench spot this spring, though hardly by his own doing. He left little question that he is ready to move past Triple-A competition, but the dynamics of the Cardinals' roster make it difficult to see a way in which Adams could make the Major League club unless there is an injury to someone else.
• Manager Mike Matheny announced that Lance Lynn will start on Wednesday when the Cardinals travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to face the Mets. Lynn, who is about 40 pounds lighter than he was last October, has a hold on the fourth spot in the team's rotation.
• Shelby Miller is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Monday, three days after he returned to the mound for the first time after being briefly slowed by shoulder soreness. If all goes well for the righty, Miller will likely make his first Grapefruit League appearance later in the week.
• Prior to the start of Sunday's home spring opener, the Cardinals observed a moment of silence for Stan Musial. Musial died on Jan. 20 at the age of 92. The Cardinals will wear a Musial patch on their jerseys during the regular season.
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.