Allen Craig

Cards stuff: Albert Pujols plays third, Allen Craig has fracture

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I’m not sure they’re all worthy of separate entries, but there’s plenty of Cardinals news today:

– Albert Pujols is making his fourth start and fifth appearance at third base in Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.  It may not mean a whole lot to some, but that fifth appearance gives him third-base eligibility in a lot of fantasy leagues, making the game’s No. 1 property even more valuable.

– Allen Craig, who had been doing excellent work before going on the DL on Sunday with a left knee contusion, was found to have a small fracture in his kneecap, likely putting him out through the All-Star break.  Craig has hit .336/.405/.523 with 23 RBI in 107 at-bats this year, so it’s a substantial loss.  Still, he wasn’t going to play quite so much anymore because…

– The Cardinals confirmed Wednesday that Matt Holliday would come off the disabled list on Thursday.  He’s been out since June 1 with a left quad strain.

– The team also revealed that rookie setup man Eduardo Sanchez was sent home Wednesday for a shoulder examination.  The hope is that he merely has some inflammation, leaving him day-to-day.  Still, the Cards will want to be careful with the 22-year-old.  Sanchez, who was briefly the team’s closer last month, has a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.

– Finally, the team sent down third baseman Matt Carpenter today to make room for Kyle McClellan, who is coming off the DL to start against the Nationals.  Carpenter was 1-for-15 during his brief stay.

 

Giants acquire Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 07: Eduardo Nunez #9 of the Minnesota Twins throws for an out at first in the fourth inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 7, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, the club announced on Thursday night.

Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.

Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.

Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.

With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.

Report: Mariners’ Taijuan Walker drawing “strong” trade interest

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08:  Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout after completing eight innings against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field on June 8, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot.  He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.

Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.

The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.