SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran's sore right knee did not respond to treatment as expected, and he was not in the lineup again Thursday.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the slugger would be available to pinch-hit if necessary.

"When he came in, he was not where he thought he would be," Matheny said before Thursday's game. "Check back tomorrow."

Beltran missed his fourth start as a result of the problematic knee. There has been no talk about him possibly going on the disabled list, and he popped out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning Thursday.

"You never know, but I was hoping to write him in today," Matheny said. "It didn't work out."

Beltran is hitting .293 with 13 home runs and 32 runs driven in.

Sore hamstring sidelines productive Craig

SAN FRANCISCO -- Allen Craig was not in the starting lineup Thursday because of a sore hamstring sustained during Wednesday night's victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Craig would not be available and remains a "day to day" situation.

Craig has already suffered through his share of setbacks since undergoing surgery last June to repair a fractured kneecap. He missed two months last season and then missed the first 22 games this year with a right knee injury resulting from that surgery.

He made the most of his time in the lineup thus far, driving in 19 runs in his 13 games. He hit safely in 10 of those games and is hitting .379 on the year.

"I tell myself that I need to play well," Craig said. "No one cares if I have been on the disabled list. I'm always trying to get better."

Even if Craig misses a few games, he'll still be able to continue working on his swing. That's what he did while rehabbing earlier this season.

"I swung the bat a lot," he said. "I hit off a tee and in batting practice. I was able to keep my swing so when I got back into the lineup it was not a big deal."

Craig has spent most of his time as the Cardinals' No. 4 hitter.

Matheny advocates for concussion awareness

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose own catching career was cut short because of complications with post-concussion syndrome, is encouraged by rule changes at the amateur level of baseball.

"I have been catching since I was 10 and I have been getting cleaned out at the plate since I was 10," Matheny said. "Through high school and the Minors, I remember vicious hits. You don't see a lot of that at the younger level. In general, I don't think it's a great play."

Matheny was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome after taking several foul balls off his mask, causing a severe concussion, while catching for the Giants in May 2006.

"Foul balls certainly do something to the brain, but there was a lot of damage done before the foul balls," he said. "When I talk to parents and Little League coaches, I ask them to step back and use their heads. Even if it's a championship game, it's still just an amateur game and to err on the side of caution."

Matheny also doesn't like the term "concussion," saying it's used like the injury is no big deal.

"We need to change the term to 'mild brain injury,'" he said. "If parents start realizing that it affects their child's brain, there might be more attention paid."