They made no promises about how he'll look.
As Beltran prepared in the indoor batting cage, away from any television cameras or reporters' eyes, general manager John Mozeliak kept returning to the word "hope" as he described his right fielder's condition.
He hopes things will work out. He hopes that Beltran's experience with bruised ribs won't be anything like Hanley Ramirez's NLCS rib experience.
Beltran, finally in the World Series in the 16th year of his big-league career, hurt his ribs in the second inning of Game 1, while crashing into the bullpen wall to catch a David Ortiz fly ball (keeping it from becoming a grand slam). Beltran left the game and went to a local hospital, where both X-rays and a CT scan came back negative.
Mozeliak said that by the time the Cardinals' bus left Fenway Park after an 8-1 Game 1 loss, Beltran was already optimistic he'd be able to play in Game 2. The Cardinals didn't make a decision until they watched Beltran swing a bat late Thursday afternoon.
"This shows you how bad he wants to play," Mozeliak said. "I know he worked very hard over the last 20 hours. Right now, he says he feels good."
Having Beltran in the lineup is obviously a big deal for the Cardinals, and could be an even bigger deal when the World Series goes to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday night. Mozeliak said he thinks it's "probably a reach" that Allen Craig will be able to play in the field this weekend, which means that there's a real chance that the Cardinals will be without their cleanup hitter.
Craig, who missed the first two rounds of the playoffs with a foot injury, was the designated hitter for the first two games at Fenway Park.