CINCINNATI -- Last season, right fielder Carlos Beltran probably would have been in the starting lineup for a game such as Monday's opener of a four-game series against the Reds.
Instead, Beltran was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day after leaving Saturday's game at Pittsburgh with tightness in his lower back.
"It's still tight," manager Mike Matheny said. "He probably could go, but if we use him, it will be off the bench. That's how we've done it all year. Instead of trying to push him through, we've tried to pay attention to how he feels. That should pay dividends in the long run."
Beltran confirmed after Monday's 7-2 loss that his back was still tight, but he took some swings and expects to be in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Reds.
Beltran, 36, missed 14 of the Cardinals' first 136 games this season after playing in 151 of their 162 last year. The switch-hitter still was leading St. Louis with 23 home runs and ranked eighth in the National League with a .310 batting average entering Monday.
Matheny also knew it was difficult for Beltran to miss batting against Cincinnati right-hander Mat Latos on Monday. Beltran went into the game hitting .333 (7-for-21) with three home runs and four RBIs in his career against Latos.
"Last year, we would try to run him out there," said Matheny, whose first year as the Cardinals' manager also was Beltran's first on the team. "This year, we're being smarter."
Yadier exits game early with left wrist soreness
CINCINNATI -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina left Monday's 7-2 loss against the Reds at Great American Ball Park after four innings with soreness in his left wrist. He was listed as day to day.
"He's had it before," manager Mike Matheny said after the game. "You haven't heard much about it. It popped up again today."
What was the reason for the soreness?
"The pounding of catching," Matheny said.
Molina had left the clubhouse before the media arrived after the game.
Going into Monday's game, the veteran, who spent a little more than two weeks on the disabled list in early August with a sprained right knee, had missed 24 games, matching his total from last season. But going into his start against the Reds on Monday in Cincinnati, Molina still led National League catchers with 928 innings behind the plate.
Molina went into Monday's game ranked second in the league with a .329 batting average and 37 doubles. The Cardinals were 10-4 in games he'd played since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 15. Molina was playing in his fourth straight game on Monday since getting back-to-back days off.
Cardinals ready for Reds prospect Hamilton
CINCINNATI -- First up at getting a chance to write the book on how to slow down Billy Hamilton? St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and the Cardinals' pitching staff.
As expected, the Reds added the Minor League basestealing sensation to their Major League roster before the start of their game against the Cardinals on Monday at Great American Ball Park.
The 22-year-old speedster was named the Reds' Minor League Player of the Year each of the past two seasons after leading two leagues in stolen bases. That includes 2012, when he set a professional baseball record with 155 thefts.
Hamilton, who has been converted from shortstop to center field, led the Triple-A International League with 75 stolen bases this season while hitting .256 with 18 doubles, four triples and six home runs.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher, knows Molina will be up to the challenge. Going into Monday's game, Molina had thrown out 15 baserunners trying to steal in 35 tries -- 43 percent.
"We have all the confidence in the world that Yadi will throw out anybody he can," Matheny said. "He's doing his part, the pitchers are doing their part."
Some Cardinals pitchers were heard talking about Molina in the St. Louis clubhouse after emerging from a meeting.
"We have film on [Hamilton]," Matheny said. "We're not going to ask the pitchers to be quicker on him or the catchers to throw quicker."
Cards likely to add more Minors players on Tuesday
CINCINNATI -- Memphis' 2-1 loss at Oklahoma City on Monday, coupled with Omaha's 8-4 win over Round Rock, means the Redbirds' Pacific Coast League season is over.
The results eliminated Memphis from postseason contention, which means St. Louis is likely to recall infielders Brock Peterson, Jermaine Curtis and Ryan Jackson on Tuesday.
The Cardinals already planned to bring up three additional pitchers -- Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez -- from their Double-A Springfield roster Tuesday. Wacha will start Tuesday night against the Reds in Cincinnati.
All six players are on St. Louis' 40-man roster, which means no additional roster moves would need to be made to make room for them.
Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.